Outstanding Airmen 'On a Journey' to Success

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. David Speicher
  • 175th Wing Public Affairs
Brig. Gen. Allyson Solomon, Maryland's assistant adjutant general-air, sees the Maryland Air National Guard on a journey.

According to the general, during this journey it is important to recognize the outstanding contributions of individuals. As part of that, the Maryland Air National Guard recognized its outstanding Airmen for their accomplishments in the past year at a ceremony held Dec. 5 at Warfield Air National Guard Base.

The event, known as the "Airman Recognition Ceremony," honored the most outstanding enlisted members of the 175th Wing in three categories: Airman, Non-Commissioned Officer, and Senior Non-Commissioned Officer. The wing's top honor guard member and first sergeant were also recognized, as were major accomplishments by other Airmen throughout the wing.

During the ceremony, last year's winners recognized this year's nominees and then introduced the Airman, NCO, Senior NCO, Honor Guard and First Sergeant of the Year.

This year's winners were:

Airman of the Year:  Senior Airman Caressa M. Gibson, 175th Force Support Squadron.
Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year:  Staff Sgt. Robert S Jojola, Jr., 175th Maintenance Squadron.
Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year: Master Sgt. Stephen L. Gray, 175th Security Forces Squadron.
First Sergeant of the Year:  Master Sgt. Stephen F. Koester, 175th Mission Support Group.
Honor Guard Member of the Year:  Tech. Sgt. Kandyce J. O'Meally, 135th Maintenance Operations Flight.

In addition to the Airmen of the year, four members were recognized for outstanding achievement during their Air Expeditionary Force deployments, 20 members were acknowledged for distinguished achievements or as honor graduates in their professional military schooling, five were recognized for being basic military training honor graduates and 37 Maryland Air National Guardsmen received their Community College of the Air Force degrees during the ceremony.

During the ceremony, General Solomon remarked that Airmen are on a journey together, and that by working together, there is nothing we can't do. That message seemed to resonate with this year's Airmen of the Year.

"I really believe in the Air Force core values: integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do," Airman Gibson said. "Sometimes we have challenges and I always try to stay positive and boost morale. We are all a team and we are all Airmen and I try to be a good wingman as others have been a good wingman to me. I hope to represent the 175th Wing to the best of my ability."

"This is one of the best times of the year to recognize our folks," General Solomon said. "We do this so people can see why these Airmen are being recognized and can inspire others to live up to them."