14th AF Commander’s Conference and Annual Awards Ball

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- On March 21, your command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Tim Omdal, and I attended the 14th Air Force Commander's Conference and Annual Awards Ball at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Attending the conference was a great opportunity to provide Lt. Gen. William Shelton, 14th Air Force commander, with an update on 21st Space Wing activity over the past six months.
I provided our boss with an update on the wing's effort to maximize every bit of operational capability from our existing weapon systems. We've made great strides over the past several months and these efforts were crucial to our flawless response to Operation Burnt Frost. Additionally, I provided the 14th AF commander with an update on Air Force Smart Operations-21 initiatives.
Perhaps the most valuable aspect to the conference was the ability of the leadership in each wing under 14th Air Force to share significant lessons learned with one another in a face to face setting. This is really the primary purpose of any working conference -- especially at the numbered Air Force level. To this end, the briefs presented by each wing were filled with valuable information that will certainly be of use to all as we work together in carrying out the mission. 

At the 14th Air Force Ball the evening of March 21, two of our very best were recognized as 14th AF annual award winners in the Category I - Supervisor of the Year, Non-commissioned Officer of the Year and "Horner Tiger" categories. Mr. Lanny Eller, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron, took home the Supervisor of the Year award and Staff Sgt. Rory Sturm, Jr. of the 721st Security Forces Squadron came away with both the NCO of the Year and Horner Tiger awards. 

This award is named in honor of Gen. Charles A. Horner and recognizes the accomplishments of an individual assigned to 14th AF who demonstrates the highest degree of professionalism, leadership, integrity, dedication and courage in the performance of their duties and conduct of their lives. Both of these individuals are certainly worthy recipients and confirm what we have known for quite some time ... that they are among the best at what they do. Congratulations again to each of them and good luck to Sergeant Sturm as he competes at the Air Force Space Command level. 

While at Vandenberg, I also took the opportunity to present a 21st Space Wing "Wingman" coin to Airman 1st Class Raymone Byrd of the 30th Security Forces Squadron. Airman Byrd was a "long distance" wingman providing support to one of our Airmen. It's easy to be a wingman for someone close by, but Airman Byrd took the extra step in helping a far away friend -- this is the epitome of the wingman concept. Consequently, I was proud to present him with our Wingman coin. 

Before closing out this week's article, I'd like to highlight a few important events that are on the immediate horizon. First, we look forward to hosting General and Mrs. Kehler during their "official" wing visit tomorrow. Although the Kehlers live on Peterson, we will take advantage of the opportunity to officially welcome them to the wing. As a previous 21st SW commander and our current AFSPC commander, it will be a pleasure to update them on our mission and introduce them to our wing's outstanding Airmen. 

In addition, upcoming events include the ground breaking ceremony on April 10 for Peterson's housing privatization project. This will be a huge event not only for the base, but also for the entire community. The planning has been in the works for several months and together with Tierra Vista Communities we look forward to making Peterson's family housing the best in the Air Force.