KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. --
Each year the 173rd Fighter Wing honors the top performers from around base and selects the very best to represent the wing.
“I am pleased to announce the 173rd Fighter Wing award recipients for 2019,” writes Col. Jeff Edwards, the wing commander in a letter naming the top performers to Kingsley Field Airmen. “These individuals have set high standards, are role models and have encompassed our “No Slack” values.”
Organizers are busy planning the annual awards banquet where these Airmen will receive recognition from their peers and the command in a ceremony.
“The ceremony is a way to say, ‘job well done!’ and ‘your efforts are appreciated!’” said Tech. Sgt. Derek Crump, one of the banquet committee volunteers. “It’s also a time to enjoy hanging out with your peers for an enjoyable evening.”
Among the winners, the top three enlisted members from the ranks went on to compete at the state and national levels. Here is a synopsis of what made this year special for the top three enlisted Airmen of the Year.
Senior Airman Clayton Berrien, 173rd Operations Group, performed a short-notice deployment with a theater security package in the Pacific, as an intelligence specialist. Because of the nature of his career field he can divulge little about his time in-theater other than to say it was both a challenging and rewarding experience.
“There were highlights,” he confirmed with a smile on his face. “I did work with the Navy and bomber aircraft,” he adds.
Sufficed to say he must have done it well because he is the Airman of the year for both the 173rd Fighter Wing and the Oregon Air National Guard. He will go forward to be considered for the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for the entire Air National Guard.
Staff Sgt. Loren Meeker, the 173rd Fighter Wing Non-Commissioned Officer of the year, is a radar repair technician for the 270th Air Traffic Control Squadron. Among his many accomplishments he’s working to recommission the mobile radar platform used for air traffic control. He’s overseen the modernization of parts built more than 60 years ago including replacing the radar drive motor. He says it’s challenging because the machine dates to before the conflict in Vietnam.
“The original radar model, the “A” was commissioned in 1947,” said Meeker. “We’re on the “K” model, which was commissioned in 1956 or ’57, so it is a very old radar.”
In his position he finds himself the subject-matter-expert on the radar system, having become very familiar with it over the last nine years. Additionally he has lent his expertise to the recruiting staff organizing recruiting events and assisting in 75 new Airmen joining the wing.
Master Sgt. Clint Wells, the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the year for the 173rd Fighter Wing and for the Oregon Air National Guard, will go forward to compete at the national level for the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.
Among his accomplishments, Wells deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan where he managed the anti-terrorism program for the more than 30,000 member base.
“The base is huge, billions of dollars of assets, three different branches—Army, Air Force and Marines—you also had coalition partners and just to get everyone on the same page for the anti-terrorism program was huge,” Wells said.
His duties there also took him “outside the wire” where he led security forces members in securing austere landing zones and protecting people and equipment.
While at the wing, Wells organized the Ruck to Remember, an event designed to honor security forces and Office of Special Investigations killed in the line of duty while deployed.
The awards banquet is scheduled for the evening of April 4. Details have been distributed through internal channels and can be found in your military email. The uniform is service dress or semi-formal for civilian guests.
See the attached documents for a full listing of the 173rd FW and the Oregon ANG winners.