Eastern Air Defense Sector and 224th Air Defense Group Recognize Outstanding Airmen, civilian for 2017

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Senior Airman Nicholas Spine receives the Outstanding Airman of the Year award from Eastern Air Defense Sector Commander Col. Emil Filkorn on Jan. 20. He was one of six top performers honored.

ROME, NY (01/30/2018) (readMedia)-- Five Airmen and one civilian were recognized for outstanding service during 2017 at the Eastern Air Defense Sector and 224th Air Defense Group's annual dinner on Jan. 20.

Nearly 200 New York Air National Guardsmen, Canadian Forces members and guests attended the event.

"EADS' air defense mission requires engaged and consistent excellence from all of our members," said Col. Emil Filkorn, EADS Commander.

"This year's winners distinguished themselves by going above and beyond our high standards. I congratulate them on their outstanding accomplishments and thank them for their efforts, "Filkorn said.

The unit recognized outstanding performers in six categories: company grade officer (junior officers below the rank of major), senior noncommissioned officer, noncommissioned officer, junior enlisted airman, Honor Guard member, and civilian.

Award recipients were:

• 1st Lt. Eric Schenck, Liverpool, Outstanding Company Grade Officer. Schenck spearheaded planning for more than 30 Presidential movements, briefing and coordinating with more than 150 fighter and tanker aircraft. An air weapons officer with the 224th Air Defense Squadron, Schenck restructured the weapons and tactics library used by more than 300 personnel and served as a lead designer for a critical cruise missile defense exercise. He was also recognized as a superior performer at the annual Virtual Flag exercise.

• Master Sgt. Bernard Jowers, Rome, Outstanding Senior Noncommissioned Officer. The Security Forces training chief at the 224th Support Squadron, Jowers helped develop and supervise a 216-hour annual training plan for Security Forces members. Responsible for reviewing and updating critical emergency procedures, Jowers instituted major improvements in the base emergency communications network. He also initiated a two-week introductory training program for new Security Forces members and efficiently planned and managed more than $130,000 in physical security upgrades.

• Tech. Sgt. Robert Raymond, Boonville, Outstanding Noncommissioned Officer. An interface control technician at the 224th Air Defense Squadron, Raymond reduced his section's data network down time by 25 percent. He provided valuable assistance to a cybersecurity working group, developed a communications link with the U.S. Navy, and superbly coordinated operations with 570 aircraft during hurricane relief efforts in September and October. Raymond also developed and published a monthly tactics bulletin provided to 125 personnel.

• Sr. Airman Nicholas Spine, Rome, Outstanding Junior Enlisted Airman. A cyber systems journeyman with the 224th Support Squadron, Spine organized more than 80 computer terminals and 16,000 feet of cable as part of a critical re-design project that separated live operations from training. Spine also incorporated next-generation sensors into the unit's network and completed 80 mission server tests, which helped correct more than 150 deficiencies.

• Mr. Sonepith Keoviengsamay, Rome, Outstanding Civilian. An information technology specialist with the 224th Support Squadron, Keoviengsamay engineered a technical fix for a classified computer system that saved an estimated $550,000. He oversaw the separation of live and training missions on the operations floor, a project that required re-configuring of dozens of positions and more than 80 computer terminals. Keoviengsamay also established improved operational security guidelines with more than 40 new security controls.

• Staff Sgt. Nino Camuglia, Rome, Outstanding Honor Guard Member. A tracking technician with the 224th Air Defense Squadron, Camuglia participated in 11 military funerals, four high-profile color details, including Syracuse University basketball games, and four parades. Camuglia provided 45 volunteer hours to Honor Guard activities.

The Eastern Air Defense Sector is a North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) headquarters unit located at the Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome, New York. Responsible for the air defense of the eastern United States, EADS is composed of New York Air National Guardsmen from the 224th Air Defense Group, a Canadian Forces detachment, Army, Navy and Coast Guard liaison officers, and federal civilians. EADS also has two detachments located in the National Capital Region.

Photographs of the awardees can be seen here: