EADS wins national awards

Senior Master Sgt. Rojo

Eastern Air Defense Sector personnel have won two Air National Guard operational excellence awards.

Senior Master Sgt. Edward Rojo of Clinton received the Outstanding Battle Manager Command and Control Award in the Senior Noncommissioned Officer category and Alpha Crew was recognized as 2011’s Outstanding Battle Management Crew.

The National Guard Bureau’s Operations Directorate administered the awards program and selected winners in seven categories. The Air National Guard has 106,000 officers and airmen who serve in 89 flying units and 579 support units.

"Winning a national award in an organization as large as the Air National Guard is a tremendous accomplishment and I congratulate Sgt. Rojo and Alpha Crew on their success," said Col. Dawne Deskins, EADS commander. "Operational awards such as these are especially noteworthy because they recognize the essential work that Sgt. Rojo and Alpha Crew perform day in and day out in defense of our nation and its people."

Sgt. Rojo was recognized for his performance as assistant flight superintendent of Alpha Crew, where he helped supervise 31 enlisted airmen while maintaining three combat mission crew qualifications. In one rapidly unfolding event in the Washington, D.C. area, Sgt. Rojo’s quick action played a key role in ensuring a pilot who had unknowingly violated airspace near the Capitol was directed out of the area without incident. Sgt. Rojo was also recognized for exceptional performance during six separate higher headquarters alert force evaluations.

Alpha Crew earned the award for its performance in support of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) air defense mission and Northern Command’s homeland defense mission. The crew monitored air traffic over one million square miles of the eastern United States and sorted more than 21,000 flights that appeared as potential tracks of interest or potential airspace violators.

In addition, the crew provided air defense for Presidential trips as well as for the last two space shuttle launches. The crew’s quick action and seamless coordination with other units in response to a pilot who had unknowingly violated airspace in Washington, D.C., was commended by higher headquarters. Alpha crew also received high marks from the NORAD Inspector General team during four alert force evaluations.

The two awards increase the total number of national awards won by the Rome-based New York Air National Guard unit this year to six. In March, personnel won three Continental NORAD/1st Air Force annual awards and one Air National Guard award.

The Eastern Air Defense Sector is headquartered at Griffiss Business and Technology Park. Staffed by active duty New York Air National Guardsmen and a Canadian Forces detachment, the unit supports the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s integrated warning and attack assessment missions and the U.S. Northern Command’s homeland defense mission. EADS is responsible for air sovereignty and counter-air operations over the eastern United States and directs a variety of assets to defend one million square miles of land and sea.