22 ARW rolls out the Red Carpet to announce the best of 2023

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  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

The 22nd Air Refueling Wing announced its 2022 annual award winners in a ceremony March 7.

At a ceremony with a Hollywood-style theme, the wing went all-out to recognize and reflect on the accomplishments and efforts of its Airmen over the past year, and the impact that they made.

“As we reflect on the remarkable achievements of our team at McConnell, it's evident that we've navigated through the year with a focused determination on our focus areas: Airmen, air refueling and mission experts, installation services and infrastructure, community, and families. Each action, mission and partnership has contributed to our shared vision to be one winning team, ready to provide air refueling anytime, anywhere,” said Col. Cory Damon, 22nd Air Refueling Wing commander.

The commander, and Chief Master Sgt Laura Hoover, 22nd ARW command chief, recounted the local and international exercises, milestones, community events and improvements to the quality of life on McConnell over the past year. This ranged from operations and exercises like Mobility Guardian 23, Lethal Pride and Lethal Defender to a 21-jet Elephant Walk, to enhanced cyber capabilities, to opening a Food Truck Court, Comic-Con and the 22nd Security Forces Squadron being named AMC’s Outstanding Medium Active-Duty Security Forces Unit of the Year.

“It's been truly inspiring to see the achievements of our team celebrated in such a grand manner,” said the Chief. “The dedication and hard work of everyone involved have certainly paid off. Together, we've achieved so much. We want to express our heartfelt appreciation to each and every one of you. your cohesive efforts and dedication have been instrumental in ensuring that we thrive at McConnell Air Force Base.”


The annual award winners are:

Airman of the Year: SrA Carley Bakker, 22nd Operations Support Squadron

Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: TSgt Nicholas Brown, 22nd Security Forces Squadron

Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: MSgt Jacob Frierdich, 22nd SFS

Civilian of the Year, Category I: Nicholas Schmidt, 22nd Contracting Squadron

Civilian of the Year, Category II: Mr. Jonathan Murphy, 22nd ARW Staff Judge Advocate Office

Civilian of the Year, Category III: Mr. Bart Winter, 22nd Health Care Operations Squadron

First Sergeant of the Year: MSgt Andrea Keenom, 22nd Operations Group

Junior Company Grade Officer of the Year: 1st Lt Megan Emlong, 22nd OSS

Senior Company Grade Officer of the Year: Capt John Nachtigall, 22 Civil Engineering Squadron

Field Grade Officer of the Year: Maj Thomas Schulte, 22nd OSS

Volunteer of the Year: A1C Judson Harness, 22nd Operational Medical Readiness Squadron

Team of the Year: Explosives Ordnance Disposal, 22nd CES

Innovator of the Year: TSgt Matthew Kelly, 22nd Maintenance Group, Maintenance Operations

Honor Guardsman of the Year: A1C Jetly Nguyen, 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron

Key Spouse: of the Year: Mrs. Courtney Smith-Whaley, 22nd Comptroller Squadron


This year’s ceremony was also expanded and recognized other 22 ARW award winners, specifically those individuals or organizations that had awards announced and/or won over the past year at the Numbered Air Force, Air Mobility Command, Air Force or Department of Defense level. Those individuals and organizations, and their awards, are:

TSgt. Nicholas Brown, 22nd SFS, AMC 2023 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award.

Mr. Carter Schrage, 22nd ARW Staff Judge Advocate General Office, AMC Outstanding Legal Service Civilian of the Year.

Mr. Schrage and SrA Peyton Reynolds, 22nd ARW JA, 2023 AMC Judge Advocate Office of the Second Quarter.

22nd ARW/JA, 2023’s 18th Air Force Legal Office of the Third Quarter.

Capt. Lt. Alisson Moraes, 344th Air Refueling Squadron, AMC 2022 Air Mobility Command Air Force International Affairs Excellence Award.

Mrs. Kim Smith, 22nd CPTS, AMC’s 2023 Financial Management Category 2 Civilian of the Quarter.

MSgt. John Wawrzynski, Jr., 22nd CES, 2023 Jewish Institute for National Security of America Grateful Nation Award.

TSgt. Briton Hurdle, 22nd Force Support Squadron, 2023 Air Force Enlisted Professional Military Education Outstanding Total Force Enlisted PME NCO of the Year.

TSgt. Joshua Larson, 22nd SFS, 2023 Lance P. Sijan USAF Leadership Award for 18th Air Force.

22nd Communications Squadron, Air Force’s 2023 DoD Chief Information Office.

22nd CS, 22nd CS Cyberspace Operations Flight Team, 2023 DoD Chief Information Officer Award.

22nd CONS, AMC’s 2023 Outstanding Operational Contracting Unit (Small).

TSgt. Shawn Messen, 22nd OSS, Air Traffic Control Training Achievement of the Year winner in the 2023 AMC Airfield Operations and Weather Awards .

22nd ARW Aviation Inspiration Mentorship Team, AMC’s 2023 Air Force Diversity and Inclusion Innovation Award.

A1C Jarod Botsford, 22nd CS, AMC’s Air Force Outstanding Mission Defense Activities Airman from the 2023 Information Dominance Professionals of the Year and General John P. Jumper Awards for Excellence in Warfighting Integration Awards.

MSgt. Ezekiel Dahlke, 22nd ARW Safety Office, AMC’s Flight Safety NCO of the Year.

TSgt. Michel Rosende, 22nd ARW Safety Office, AMC’s Individual Weapons Safety Award.

22nd ARW Safety Office, AMC’s Risk Management Achievement Award and AMC’s Safety Office of the Year.

22nd Medical Group, AMC’s Small Dental Clinic of the Year; AMC’s Best Ambulatory Clinic Patient Safety Program award; and AMC’s Surgeon General Clinic of the Year.

SSgt. Jennifer Hoyt, 22nd MDG, AMC’s Health Services Management Airman of the Year.

TSgt. Robin Winston, 22nd MDG, AMC’s Health Services Management NCO of the Year.

TSgt. Dannie Peterson, 22nd MDG, AMC’s Dental NCO of the Year.

Lt. Col. Michelle Alders, 22nd MDG, AMC’s Chief of Medical Staff of the Year.

Mrs. Kimberly Tanner, 22nd MDG, AMC’s Civilian Nurse of the Year.

Mr. Bart Winter, 22nd MDG, AMC’s Medical Service Civilian Enterprise Leadership Excellence Award.

Mrs. Candita Dessi, 22nd CPTS, AMC’s 2023 Financial Management Category 1 Civilian of the Quarter.

SMSgt. Jessica Griffin, 22nd MXG, AMC’s Force Support Senior NCO of the Year.

TSgt. Michael Redford, 22nd CPTS, AMC’s Force Support Special Duty NCO of the Year.

Mrs. Carole Sturgeon, 22nd FSS, AMC's Category 1 Supervisory Civilian of the Year.

22nd FSS, AMC’s Force Development Flight of the Year.

22nd FSS, AMC’s Commander Support Team of the Year.

22nd ARW Wing Administration Office, AMC’s A1 Special Recognition Team of the Year Award – Installation, for 2023. This a repeat win, as the 22 ARW Wing Admin office won this same award in 2022, making them the back-to-back honorees in this category.

22nd Security Forces Squadron, AMC Outstanding Medium Active Duty Unit of the Year.

2nd Lt. Kenton Colvin, 22nd Maintenance Squadron, Air Force Military Athlete of the Year, Male.

22nd LRS, AMC Packing Production Achievement Award.

22nd MXG Maintenance Training Section, AMC’s Maintenance Training Section of the Year.

TSgt. James Moncier, 22nd MXG, AMC’s Maintenance Training Manager of the Year.

22nd Force Support Squadron, Chisholm Trail Dining Facility, 2024 Air Force John L. Hennessy Food Service Excellence Award (East)


And in true news style, it’s time to add a “this just in” segment to this story, as one more award was announced March 7, just hours before the start of the 22 ARW Annual Awards Ceremony. From the 2023 AMC Media Awards, Tech. Sgt. Nathan Eckert of 22nd ARW Public Affairs won first place in the Feature Writing category, for his coverage of Maximum Endurance Operations for tanker aircraft in the United States Indo-Pacific Command Area of Responsibility during Mobility Guardian 2023.