Home : Features : 2012 : Outstanding Soldiers and Airmen of the Year : Air
Collapse All Expand All

Master Sergeant Jeffrey L. Lamarche, Eastern Air Defense Sector, New York Air National Guard, Air National Guard Honor Guard Program Manager of the Year

Master Sergeant Jeffrey Lamarche is the Honor Guard Program Manager assigned to the Eastern Air Defense Sector (EADS) Rome, New York, a unit of First Air Force.  MSgt Jeffrey Lamarche was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and upon graduation from High School in Utica, New York, June 1977 he enlisted in the Navy. 

After graduating from basic military training and completing technical training he was assigned to the Naval Submarine Support Facility Groton Submarine Base, CT.   In March 1982 he joined the Navy Reserves where he became a qualified Navy instructor and also joined the Honor Guard, where he performed more than 100 Funerals in central New York.

In September 1996, he transferred to the NY Air National Guard Eastern Air Defense Sector, where he was initially trained as a Tracking Technician.  As a member of EADS he held qualifications as Air Surveillance Technician, Identification Technician, Mission Crew Commander Technician, and Emergency Actions Coordinator.  MSgt Lamarche fulfilled duties of NCOIC for Surveillance and Identification sections.  In 1999 he was selected as NCO of the year.  In January 2009, he was selected as the EADS Honor Guard Program Manager as a secondary duty.

He exceptionally leads a unique team of all volunteers which has performed 47 funerals, 13 Colors details, and 7 Retirement ceremonies this past year.  During his ten years as an Honor Guard member he has contributed more than 400 hours of service for Funerals and Colors details.  MSgt Lamarche is a senior noncommissioned officer with over 35 years of service to his nation. He is a recipient of the 2009 and 2010 Honor Guard Program Manger of the Year for EADS, and NYANG Honor Guard Program Manager of the Year for 2010 and 2011.  His decorations include Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, and Navy Achievement Medal.  He is currently working on his CCAF degree and completed the Senior NCO Academy in residence in March 2011.  He is a certified member of the National Ski Patrol, and is a 24 year member of the Deansboro Volunteer Fire Department and Vice Commander for VFW Post 9591.


Master Sgt. Fred W. Hudgins Jr., 161st Air Refueling Wing, Arizona Air National Guard, Air National Guard First Sergeant of the Year

Master Sergeant Fred W. Hudgins Jr. is currently assigned as the First Sergeant for the 161st Maintenance Squadron, 161st Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Arizona Air National Guard, Phoenix, Arizona.  He has held the position since February 2008 following graduation from the First Sergeant Academy.  He is the liaison between the commander and squadron members.

He advises the commander on matters affecting the health, morale and welfare of the Maintenance Squadron enlisted members.  Sergeant Hudgins maintains endless vigilance on the factors impacting the morale and well-being of the enlisted force, advises the commander of these assessments, and makes appropriate recommendations.  In 2011 he volunteered to deploy as a First Sergeant to Kandahar, Afghanistan leading in a joint combat environment with the 466th Air Expeditionary Squadron (AES) in direct support of combat missions. 

Throughout the deployment he was responsible for 800 airmen located in the South, Southwest and Western portions of Afghanistan's most hostile and volatile battle space.  He traveled over 6,000 miles outside-the-wire via ground convoys, rotary and fixed wing aircraft in support of the 466 AES war fighter.  Sergeant Hudgins was born in Piqua, Ohio.  He lettered in football, basketball, track, and was awarded All-Greater Miami Valley Conference athlete.  Following graduation from high school he subsequently enlisted in the Air Force in 1986.

He served active duty assignments to Williams AFB, AZ and Kirtland AFB, NM and was a crew chief on T-38 aircraft until cross-training into personnel.  He received multiple performance awards while on active duty and in the guard.  Military awards include Meritorious Service Medal, AF Commendation Medal, AF Achievement Medal, AF Outstanding Unit Award, AF Good Conduct Medal, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, AF Longevity Service, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, USAF NCO PME Ribbon, and Air Force Training Ribbon.

Sergeant Hudgins is active in the community volunteering time to coach and mentor youth.  He earned a Bachelor Science degree in Business Administration and Master's degree in Organizational Management.  Sergeant Hudgins and wife Pamela have four children.


Senior Airman Michael D. McCaffrey, 194th Wing, Washington Air National Guard, Air National Guard Airman of the Year

Senior Airman Michael McCaffrey was born on Luke Air Force Base, Arizona.  Son of an Air Force pilot, Mike split his childhood between in Las Vegas, Nevada and Monument, Colorado. In 2007, Airman McCaffrey graduated from Centennial High School in Las Vegas

Upon graduation, he began his military career as a Security Forces Specialist for the Air National Guard in Reno, Nevada. In 2008-09, Mike deployed to Manas, Kyrgyzstan where he provided security for the airfield equipment and personnel transitioning into and out of the Afghanistan theater of operations.  In 2009, he crossed over to the Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) within the Air National Guard. SrA McCaffrey graduated from the rigorous TACP Schoolhouse at Hurlburt Field, Florida in 2010. 

Today, he is a TACP Apprentice assigned to the 116th Air Support Operations Squadron, Camp Murray, WA. He facilitates detailed Close Air Support and TACP integration for ground commanders and is currently aligned with the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oregon Army National Guard. Airman McCaffrey serves on a 2-Airman TACP team while deployed, and provides radio communication and tactical network operations support to the Joint Terminal Attack Controller. In 2011, Airman McCaffrey deployed to Afghanistan with the 116th ASOS in support of the Iowa Army National Guard.

As a vital member of the Terminal Air Control team for Task Force Red Bulls, SrA McCaffrey was instrumental in helping his team support more than 200 outside-the-wire missions, plan and execute more than 180 Air requests, control more than 230 hours of Close Air Support, drop more than 32,000 pounds of ordnance and destroy more than 240 enemy fighters.

In his civilian career, SrA McCaffrey works for Rally Point Management as an Instructor within the MC-12 Freedom training project, based at Beale Air Force Base, California. In this capacity, Mike trains MC-12 pilots and students to best utilize their systems while integrating with JTACs on the battlefield.  Mike is enrolled at American Military University and is in the process of completing a double major for his Bachelor's Degree.  Mike is married to Ashleigh McCaffrey and they reside in Plumas Lake, California.


Senior Master Sgt. Luke W. Thompson, 125th Special Tactics Squadron, Oregon Air National Guard, Air National Guard Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year

SMSGT Luke W. Thompson is the Squadron Superintendent, 125th Special Tactics Squadron (125 STS), Oregon Air National Guard, Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), Portland Oregon.  The 125 STS mission is to be the foremost Special Operations Force poised for full spectrum rapid response to all crisis and contingencies at home or abroad.  They also seamlessly integrate at all levels of the joint arena by continually adapting, growing, and enhancing specialized capabilities with current and future technologies to meet emerging mission requirements.

The squadron is composed of 90 Guardsmen and civilian professionals, organized across seven functional areas within the Special Tactics community.  In 1994, after graduation from High school in Payson Utah, SMSgt Thompson enlisted in the active duty Air Force as a Combat Control Trainee.  After finishing the grueling two year pipeline he earned his scarlet beret.  He then went on to serve 10 years in the active duty force before joining the ORANG in 2005.  Sergeant Thompson is one of five founding members (Plank Holders) of the squadron, standing the unit up from scratch.

His Active Duty time includes many deployments including two combat tours; one to Iraq and another to Afghanistan where he served as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller as a member of various Special Operations teams.

He has also volunteered for two combat tours as a Guardsman, both to Afghanistan.  Sergeant Thompson has been involved in several rescue missions at home including efforts in New Orleans, Louisiana after hurricane Katrina and the devastating flooding in Vernonia, Oregon.

His career also includes assignments as Special Tactics flight NCOIC, operations superintendent, squadron superintendent, and Expeditionary squadron superintendent, ESTS, Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.  Sergeant Thompson is married to his beautiful bride Tyneil, and they have three children, Sydney, Wade, and Sadie.  Sergeant Thompson is an active member of the Enlisted Association of the Air National Guard the Air Force Sergeants Association and life member of the Combat Control Association.  Sergeant Thompson has a CCAF degree in Airway Science, a Bachelor's degree in history and is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Policy.


Staff Sgt. Carrie M. Kline, 122nd Fighter Wing, Indiana Air National Guard, Air National Guard Honor Guard Member of the Year

SSgt Carrie Kline started her military career with the 122nd Fighter Wing in June of 2003. She attended Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base then proceeded onto her Information Management School at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi.  Upon her return from school she joined and greatly helped establish the first Honor Guard Flight ever at Fort Wayne ANGB in the Fall of 2004.  Since that initial startup she has been responsible for training and certifying over 40 fellow 122nd members in Honor Guard duties.

Staff Sergeant Kline is currently assigned to the 122nd Maintenance Group where she has performed the role of Information Manager and Knowledge Operations Manager.  She is an integral part in administering, recording and maintaining over 426 fitness tests and Personal Readiness Folders for individuals with in the 122nd Maintenance Group.  She also fulfills the role of Unit Career Advisor where she works closely with the Squadron Commanders and senior leadership in maintaining an outstanding 91.4% retention rate.

She is married to David Kline from Huntington, IN where they reside on the Kline homestead.  The Kline family farms over 700 acres in Northeast Indiana and also manages a herd of over 200 beef cattle.  They have two sons;  Jaxan who is four and Owen who is two and she loves working on the farm instilling strong work ethics and appreciation for the outdoor life .   She is currently pursuing her bachelor's degree in her spare time at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, IN

During her military career she has been recognized for her outstanding performance and awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Indiana Distinguished Service Medal and the Indiana National Guard Commendation Medal.  Sergeant Kline has volunteered for numerous details including both Funeral Honors and Colors presentations throughout Northeast Indiana, Northwest Ohio and Southern Michigan. She continually puts Service before self in all that she does and enjoys training other Honor Guard members to do the same.  Sergeant Kline is well respected throughout the Wing and her local communities and continues to be an exceptional member and valued asset to the 122nd FW.


Tech. Sgt. Jacob S. Curtis, 126th Air Refueling Wing, Illinois Air National Guard, Air National Guard Noncommissioned Officer of the Year

Technical Sergeant Jacob Curtis is a Security Forces Craftsman assigned to the 126th Security Forces Squadron, Scott AFB IL.  He was born in Omaha NE, on 31 May 1981, and attended O’Fallon Township High School, O’Fallon, Illinois, graduating in 2001. He excelled on the wrestling Team, and was heavily involved in both the choir and thespian society. He married his wife Melanie in April of 2007.

Sergeant Curtis enlisted in the Air National Guard 126th Air Refueling Wing on 24 September 2001.  He attended Basic Military Training in July 2002 and completed Security Forces Technical School.   He has been activated in support of OPERATIONs ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM and OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. In December of 2008, Sergeant Jacob Curtis was accepted as an Active Guard Reserve member for the 126 SFS.

As a member of the 126 SFS, Sergeant Jacob Curtis has performed duties as an Internal and External Security Response Team Leader, Area Supervisor, Desk Sergeant, and Flight Sergeant. Most recently he was appointed as the NCOIC of plans for the 126 SFS.

Sergeant Jacob Curtis has donated time and resources to many charitable organizations located throughout the Saint Louis area including the Susan G. Komen, Race for a Cure, The Valley of Southern IL Scottish Rite Dyslexia Center, and the Okaw Valley Boy Scouts of America. He is a strong supporter of Illinois as a lifetime member of the National Guard Association of Illinois (NGAI).

His Federal decorations include The Army Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal w/1 Device, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal w/2 Devices, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal w/1 device, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, AF Overseas Ribbon Short, Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border and 1 Device, Air Force Longevity Service with two Devices, Armed Forces Reserve Medal w/3 “M” Devices, and the AF Training Ribbon.

Sergeant Jacob Curtis is currently enrolled at Webster University in pursuit of a Masters in Business Administration with an emphasis in Information Technology.