An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | Aug. 25, 2023

Airmen of the Year Recognized During Focus on the Force Week

By Master Sgt. David Eichaker, Air National Guard

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. - Four National Guard Airmen were recognized as Outstanding Airmen of the Year at a ceremony Aug. 24 at the Air National Guard Readiness Center.

As part of the Air National Guard’s Focus on the Force Week, the Airmen were honored for their achievements by Lt. Gen. Michael Loh, Air National Guard director, and Chief Master Sgt. Maurice Williams, ANG command chief.

The OAY honorees are:

-Airman of the Year: Staff Sgt. Airman Dhruva Poluru, space systems operations with the 222nd Command and Control Squadron, New York National Guard, (recently promoted).

-Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Jessica Brazionis, information systems security manager, 217th Air Operations Group, Michigan National Guard.

-Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: Senior Master Sgt. Tony Hall, tactical control party, 118th Air Support Operations Squadron, North Carolina National Guard.

-First Sergeant of the Year: Master Sgt. Joshua Johnson, 233rd Security Forces Squadron, Colorado National Guard.

The Airmen were recognized for their accomplishments and contributions to the Air National Guard by the ANG director.

“In the largest Air Force in the world, the United States Air Force, there are 516,000 members in uniform,” said Loh. “In our Air National Guard, there are 108,000 members spread out over 50 states, three territories, and the District of Columbia. We have 94,000 enlisted members. … These four are our Outstanding Airmen of the Year!

“We support them; they support all of us, and together we make the most powerful Air Force in the world.”

The Focus on the Force week of recognition gave the OAY winners opportunities for professional development and honored their achievements as the enlisted corps’ top performers.

“The main focus is celebrating their accomplishments and their awards to show we’re appreciative of them and give them a great experience,” said Williams. “They were able to learn about the Pentagon, visit Arlington National Cemetery to participate in a wreath-laying ceremony, and have the opportunity to go to Capitol Hill.”

He added that development opportunities like this help the ANG’s overall mission.

“They shared an experience with other Airmen that will help them continue to drive and reach their goals and accomplishments, which helps our National Guard grow,” said Williams.

The Airman of the Year, Poluru, shared his thoughts about the leadership symposium.

“We were able to network with a group of Airmen from all ranks from E-2 all the way up to command chiefs,” he said. “It was a nice informal professional development session, trying to get individual tips from all these leaders and taking in all the opinions from the younger Airmen as well.”

Poluru also appreciated attending the conference of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States.

“It was super awesome to see a shift in professional development and how it’s actually done between Army and Air combined,” he said. “It was cool to get that joint training and get a better understanding of the other branch.”

Poluru offered professional growth advice for the next generation of leaders.

“Taking up different opportunities that make you uncomfortable,” he said. “[Trying] new things to expand your thinking and relying on your leadership, coworkers, or even subordinates to be able to lean on them to guide you through this process.”
 

 

 

Related Articles
205th Base Defense Squadron Airmen pose in front of an MRZR off-road vehicle. Ten Airmen from the 105th Airlift Wing’s 205th Base Defense Squadron participated in Exercise Red Flag Jan. 15-26, 2024, training in the field on essential security forces concepts.
105th Airmen Support Security Forces Training at Red Flag
By 1st Lt. Briana Ross, | Feb. 16, 2024
NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. - Ten Airmen from the 105th Airlift Wing’s 205th Base Defense Squadron trained in cutting-edge base defense operational concepts at Exercise Red Flag 24-1 from Jan. 15-26.Exercise Red Flag was...

Airman 1st Class Kyle Larsen, a member of the New York Air National Guard assigned to the Eastern Air Defense Sector in Rome, New York, keeps an eye on the sky over the eastern United States while preparing for Christmas Eve, when the sector’s Airmen will help in the annual NORAD Tracks Santa effort.
New York Air National Guard Members Help Track Santa Claus
By Patrick Young, | Dec. 21, 2023
ROME, N.Y. - New York Air National Guardsmen assigned to NORAD's Eastern Air Defense Sector will help track Santa as he makes his way around the world on Christmas Eve.Each year, the North American Aerospace Defense Command...

Delegates from the Brazilian Navy and Air Force brave the winter weather at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station Dec. 6, 2023. Representatives spent the week learning from 222nd Command and Control Squadron members how to enhance and develop space operations.
107th Attack Wing Hosts Brazil for Space Development Workshop
By 1st Lt. Jason Carr, | Dec. 18, 2023
NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. - The New York Air National Guard’s 222nd Command and Control Squadron, charged with helping to control and monitor U.S. military satellites, hosted four Brazilian officers during a...