LATHAM — Diane Burton, of Sherrill, was named the Outstanding Civilian (Category I, GS-7 & below) for 2019 for the Eastern Air Defense Sector and the New York Air National Guard’s 224th Air Defense Group.
Part of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), EADS is responsible for the air defense of the eastern U.S.
“EADS’ air defense mission requires engaged and consistent excellence from all of our members,” said Col. Paul Bishop, 224th Air Defense Group Commander. “This year’s winners distinguished themselves by going above and beyond our high standards. I congratulate them on their outstanding accomplishments and thank them for their efforts.”
Burton was tapped for the award, according to the EADS announcement for sustained excellence. She is an “essential administrator whose clerical support enabled members’ temporary duty travel, medical appointments and training,” the EADS announcement said, adding that she “also served as critical support for unit executive officer, ensuring personnel records were 100 percent accurate.”
The 224th ADG is composed of the 224th Air Defense Squadron and 224th Support Squadron, located in Rome, and Detachment 1 and Detachment 2 that serve in the Washington, D.C. area. The 224th ADG provides the forces to conduct the Eastern Air Defense Sector’s mission.
This year, EADS recognized members of it full-time force, Drill Status Guard (DSG) force — traditional National Guardsmen who serve one weekend a month — and federal civilians. Awards were presented in 11 separate categories: full-time and DSG company grade officer (junior officers below the rank of major), senior noncommissioned officer, full-time and DSG noncommissioned officer, junior enlisted airman, honor guard program manager, and civilians in three categories.
The annual awards ceremony was held at the Oneida Community Mansion House in Oneida on Saturday, Jan. 11.
Additional award winners include:
Staff Sgt. Jordan Jarecki, Sherrill, Outstanding Noncommissioned Officer. Jarecki analyzed 67 operations as part of unit’s Tactics Working Group, directly improving training, tactical performance, and mission effectiveness. Devised paperless database to track more than 140 training events and served as Squadron Operational Security coordinator.
Capt. Jason Cole, Whitesboro, Outstanding Company Grade Officer. Rated “exceptional in all areas,” Cole played a key role in planning and conducting air defense operations for the Super Bowl, United Nations General Assembly and Presidential travel.
Tech. Sgt. Jeffery Coleman, Rome, Outstanding DSG Noncommissioned Officer. Part-time tracking technician who supported multiple Sector operations and exercises. Recognized for outstanding work during United Nations General Assembly and for volunteering at 24 unit events.
Staff Sgt. Edward Pugh, Rome, Outstanding Honor Guard Member. A tracking technician instructor, Pugh devoted 81 hours of his personal time to Honor Guard activities. He participated in 27 color details, including 10 veterans’ funerals. Also directed Flag Day event for 420 students at local elementary school.
Staff Sgt. Gary Gillespie, Rome, Outstanding Airman. Intelligence analyst recognized for coordinating multi-team project with 10 outside agencies and for mission planning with U.S. Navy. Served as lead intelligence instructor for unit’s initial qualification program and seamlessly integrated intelligence operations with new cyber defense initiative.
Mr. Sonepith Keoviengsamay, Rome, Outstanding Civilian (Category III). Led update program for more than 100 command and control devices while serving as program lead for major software upgrade. Keoviengsamay was also responsible for vital information assurance program, validating more than 400 security controls essential to conducting the air defense mission.
Dave Parker, Rome, Outstanding Civilian (Category II). Responsible for radio spectrum management efforts, coordinating and de-conflicting EADS’ missions with the Federal Aviation Administration. In addition, Parker played a key role in $1 million communications upgrade and designed communications architecture for Washington, D.C. area operational test.
Master Sgt. Jason Rutherford, Rome, Outstanding Senior Noncommissioned Officer. The NCOIC of the Communications Focal Point, Rutherford directed more than 300 computer maintenance and radar events for Presidential travel. He also merged nearly 3,000 tasks from 11 different training plans into a single plan, an innovation that was adopted as a template by the other NORAD air defense sectors.
The New York National Guard (New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs) is the state’s executive agency responsible to the Governor for managing New York’s Military Forces, which consists of nearly 20,000 members of the New York Army National Guard, the New York Air National Guard, the New York Naval Militia and the New York Guard.