Return home

Pair of airmen receive statewide awards

Posted 2/15/23

Two area airmen have seen their careers reach new heights.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Pair of airmen receive statewide awards


ROME — Two area airmen have seen their careers reach new heights.

Tech. Sgt. Jarrod Becker, of Rome, who serves in the Eastern Air Defense Sector’s 224th Air Defense Squadron at the Griffiss Business and Technology Park, has been named the 5,880-member New York Air National Guard’s Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year for 2023.

Senior Airman Dhruva Poluru, assigned to the 222nd Command and Control Squadron, headquartered at Griffiss Park, was named the New York Air National Guard’s Airman of the Year for 2023.

Becker serves as a weapons director and weapons director evaluator and instruction for the 224th Air Defense Squadron, which conducts the Eastern Air Defense Sector’s mission of aerospace defense of the continental United States east of the Mississippi.

Becker enlisted in the Air Force in 2011 and served in the 726th Air Control Squadron at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho until January 2016. He deployed to Afghanistan twice during that period and joined the New York Air National Guard and the Eastern Air Defense Sector in 2016.

Becker is one of five New York Air National Guard members who were identified as outstanding Airmen for their ranks. The 2023 New York Outstanding Airmen of the Year represent the best members serving our nation, state, and community,” said New York Air National Guard Command Chief Master Sgt. Denny Richardson.

“These members have consistently performed above expectations placing service before self in the defense of our Nation,” he said.

Weapons directors are responsible for guiding fighter pilots onto a course from which they can intercept an enemy aircraft. As a weapons director evaluator and instructor, Becker is responsible for ensuring that the squadron’s weapons directors know their jobs.

Prior to taking on his current position he served as the current operations non-commissioned officer in charge for the 224th.

During his time serving in the 224th, he has scheduled and deconflicted more than 8,000 hours and 1,500 alert and training missions for 150 operations personnel. He has also worked as a controller during major air combat exercise at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, and in Alaska.

Becker has previously been awarded the Air and Space Commendation Medal and the Air and Space Achievement Medal. He holds a bachelor’s degree in applied studies from American Military University.

Poluru, as part of his duties with the 222nd, tracks the orbits of American satellites and those of other nations to ensure the security of U.S. space systems. The squadron, a component of the 107th Attack Wing, provides personnel to work with the National Reconnaissance Office, the agency which runs America’s space surveillance systems.

Poluru, who lives in Herndon, Virginia, serves as a mission crew chief. He joined the New York Air National Guard in 2019.

He is responsible for orbital threat analysis and for the command and control of over 85 commercial data providers and orbital analysts who contribute to the United States Space Force’s space protection and space defense missions.

Poluru also serves as the primary government representative to a team of 190 military, contractor, and international analysts geographically dispersed which provide space domain awareness support to the Commander, United States Space Command.

He has also been involved in meetings with Brazilian military officials to discuss space information sharing as part of the New York National Guard’s State Partnership Program agreement with the Brazilian military.

“We are extremely proud of Senior Airman Dhruva Poluru, for representing the 107th Attack Wing and winning the highly competitive 2023 New York Air National Guard Outstanding Airman of the Year,” said Col. Andrew Carlson, the commander of the 107th Attack Wing.

“Poluru is highly involved in the innovative commercial space domain awareness sector, which is a key enabler of our State Partnership Program,” Carlson said.

Poluru was also named Airman of the Year of the northeastern states and will now compete to be the top Airman in the entire Air National Guard, according to Command Chief Master Sgt. Denny Richardson, the senior enlisted leader for the New York Air National Guard.

Poluru graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in 2022. After attending undergraduate school in Buffalo, he moved to Herndon while assigned to the 222d Command and Control Squadron.

The Eastern Air Defense Sector is made up of the 224th Air Defense Group, which provides the forces to conduct the mission. Part of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the sector is responsible for the air defense of the eastern U.S.

The 224th Air Defense Group is comprised of the 224th Air Defense Squadron and the 224th Support Squadron, located in Rome, and Detachment 1 and Detachment 2 that serve in the Washington, D.C. area.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here