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News | May 9, 2014

NORAD-USNORTHCOM Honor Annual Award Winners

By MSgt. Chuck Marsh

Before a crowd of more than 120 of their peers, the U.S. Northern Command Deputy Commander, Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Dubie, highlighted 14 members of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and USNORTHCOM as the best of the best for 2013 in a ceremony at the Peterson Air Force Base Club April 30.

The awards program, established to recognize personnel for outstanding accomplishments during the calendar year, applies to all U.S. and Canadian forces personnel assigned to NORAD and USNORTHCOM, to include subordinate and components members.  Categories include officer, enlisted and civilian awards.

Command Sgt. Maj. Robert A. Winzenried, Command Sr. Enlisted Leader, NORAD and USNORTHCOM, rounded out the official party which saw all winners earn an engraved trophy and medallion. The military winners received the joint service commendation medal and the civilian winners received the joint civilian service commendation award. Other awards for winners included a certificate of appreciation and gifts from event sponsors.

In humble fashion, each of the award winners attributed much of their success in earning the award to the men and women they work with, their mentors and supervisors and the family at home who support them and took the opportunity to thank them.

Winners include:

NORAD junior NCO of the Year: 

CPL Melissa Horner, Air Force (Canadian Forces) Canadian Region

Duty Title:  Aerospace Control Operator /22 Wing Operations and Plans

Major accomplishments according to the nomination package:  CPL Horner took a lead role in the wing operations plans section, ensuring the Canadian Air Defense Sector Command Post was operationally functional for the CANR command team. She was elected to the Military Family Resource Centre Board of Directors to represent the military community, taking a leadership role in directing community programs, championing health, morale and welfare. As a member of the 22 Wing Honour Guard, her military bearing and attitude are always professional as demonstrated during the Canadian NORAD Region command visit. She has also successfully completed 23 of 30 credit hours required for the Bachelor of Military Arts and Science program through the Royal Military College.

“It wasn't until I was seated in the room with the 10 board members that I realized how far a military member had to travel in order to get into the chair I found myself in,” she said. “There were so many talented and accomplished people waiting behind me for their turn with the board and in realizing this, I understood the level of achievement required to get where we were. After the experience that was the board, winning the award felt like a bonus on top of an amazing few months that included awards at both the sector and region level.”

NORAD senior nco member of the year: 

MWO Jeffrey Reid, Air Force (Canadian Forces), Headquarters, NORAD-USNORTHCOM

Duty Title:  NORAD J33 Superintendent

Major accomplishments according to the nomination package:  Master Warrant Officer Reid is the first Canadian to fill the current operations superintendent position, leading a 45-member team. He was also recognized as the NORAD J3 Senior NCO of the Year for 2013. He performed 56 hours of NORAD-NORTHCOM Command Center pro-shifts; led AD execution of 8 unknown aircraft within the national capital region, ensuring defense of the homeland. Reid is a key member of Canadian Headquarters Unit Personal Evaluation Report board, solidifying 14 files for career progression. He also earned the Headquarters NORAD SNCO 2013 award. MWO Reid co-led the 35th Annual CANAM (Canadian-American) Golf Tournament, a ‘super’ event for 140 members. He also completed 50-percent of his bilingual proficiency, his second language qualification.

“It's an honour to be recognized for this prestigious award, to represent NORAD by far the greatest command,” said Reid. “To be nominated by the NOARD leadership, particularly my SEL (senior enlisted leader) Chief Master Sgt. Young, is humbling. This is a team award however; I may be the captain of the team, but my appreciation goes out to my coworkers and, of course, my family.”

NORAD Company Grade Officer of the YEAR:  

Continental U.S. NORAD Region, Capt. Angela M. Hudson

Duty Title:  (Canadian Forces Military Occupation Specialty Identification) / Instructor Senior Director and Assistant Officer-In-Charge, Bravo Crew Weapons

Major accomplishments according to the nomination package: She is the top flight senior director who was upgraded to instructor after six months exudes superior knowledge, skill and confidence. She took the lead as senior director for seven national capital region scrambles aiding uncompromised President of the United States and critical-asset protection. Her intense developmental drive & focus saw her as a national finalist for the prestigious Royal Canadian Air Force International Space Studies Program. She is a court-appointed special advocate for at-risk children removed from unfit homes, having protected six children to date. She has also completed second year of arduous full-time graduate law degree courses, finishing three with honors distinction and is enrolled in and advancing through Level 3 of a 5-tiered RCAF Officer Developmental Program, well ahead of her peers.

NORAD Field Grade Officer of the YEAR: 

Alaska NORAD Region, Air Force Lt. Col. Robert S. Neiper

Duty Title:  Logistics Readiness Officer, Deputy Commander, Pacific Air Forces Regional Support Center

Major accomplishments according to the nomination package:  Lt. Col. Neiper created a $3.1 million LAK (Link-16, Alaska) sustainment, instituting 500-part supply point, cutting delays from three days to one. He initiated a $56 million power plant renovation, engineering design and initiating building – securing critical NORAD defense sensors. He implemented a radar upgrade installation project worth $126 million, fortifying NORAD air defenses with a projected $175 million in savings over 10 years. He assisted two search and rescue missions, coordinating five aircraft, 28 personnel and dispensed 69,000 pounds of fuel, rescuing three hikers. His community activities included supporting the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Attic initiative, organizing 11 members and volunteering 22 hours serving more than 5,000 base members. He also completed a three-day contract course, identifying and fixing a document configuration control problem, creating a share point site saving 75 man hours.

“I definitely could not have gotten there without the support of all men and women of the PACAF Regional Support Center,” said Neiper. “I would also like to thank my wife and kids for supporting me, especially over the past year. Without their support I would not have been able to accomplish all that I did.”


Canadian NORAD Region, Andreas Christodoulides

Duty Title:  1 Canadian Air Division / CANR Headquarters Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Division Senior Strategic Intelligence Analyst

Major accomplishments according to the nomination package:  Christodoulides gathers, evaluates and organizes raw and processed data on specified nations, groups and their relative weaponry. Christodoulides generates world-class comprehensive and predictive intelligence assessments and developed a new air threat paradigm, which significantly changed NORAD planning. His recent findings on threats to NORAD were presented at the Permanent Joint Board on Defence and resulted in the NORAD-NORTHCOM commander advocating for more resources based on those assessments.


Alaska NORAD Region, Stacey L. Wilken

Duty Title:  Alaskan NORAD Region NORAD Enterprise Network Systems Administrator, 611th Air Communications Squadron

Major accomplishments according to the nomination package:  Wilken led nine people in system administration, driving 99% uptime for 290 users – key to ANR earning NORAD's top "Mission Ready" rating. Wilken ignited system threat responses, identifying a virus and coordinating a fix with NORAD and solidifying the defense of 663,000 square miles of Alaskan airspace. Wilken devised a system backup plan, creating a checklist and schedule to preserve 10 years of intelligence data from natural disasters and corruption. Community service includes being elected as booster club treasurer, donating 87 hours to organizing four morale events, earning $7,300. Wilken also completed 85 certified training requirements, beating the deadline by 16 months.

“First, I would like to thank God for everything he has done for me,” said Wilken. “I would also like to thank my supervisor Mr. Don Pettit for putting me in and giving me the opportunity, Senior Master Sgt. Devlin Huffman for spearheading the awesome awards process in our squadron, and all of the 611th Air Communications Squadron personnel for helping me get to this point.  We are all part of an awesome team.”


HQ NORAD-USNORTHCOM, Christopher R. Edling

Duty Title:  Chief, NORAD Strategic Initiatives

Major accomplishments according to the nomination package:  Edling was the first choice for primary command center joint planning team; mission analysis briefed to commander. He was selected as the HQ NORAD Civilian Category III of the Year for 2013. Edling authored NORAD Aerospace Control Alert Risk Assessment Report to Congress which was approved and forwarded from the NORAD-NORTHCOM commander and Secretary of Defense. Edling served as aerospace control alert subject matter expert for 13 exercises and 17 real-world aerospace events in the NORAD-NORTHCOM Command Center. He was the fundraising chair for Boy Scouts troop, collecting $10,500 and fueling 65 Scouts rank advancements and summer camps. He also served as an adult leader for 130 hours of Scout Rank Boards of Review, Garden of the Gods trail restoration, camping and skiing.

usnorthcom junior nco of the year: 

Sgt. Tonga Tukumoeatu, Army North

Duty Title:  Trombone player / Logistics and Resource Management NCO

Major accomplishments according to the nomination package:  As trombone player, he performs with four groups in more than 30 performances each year to support the 323d Army Band’s more than 300 musical missions. Tukumoeatu is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the entire band’s musical equipment, totaling $454,431. He commits 92 hours a month as a Boy Scout Master by participating in Scout service projects, organizing camp outs and fundraisers, and teaching youth to abide by the Scout oath and law. He dedicates five to 10 hours weekly as a church youth leader to support the spiritual fitness of more than 20 youth (ages 12-17) through ministry, organizing charitable service and leading youth social functions. Tukumoeatu also completed a Master’s Degree in Music Education from Boston University in May 2013.

usnorthcom senior nco of the year: 

Senior Master Sgt. Tracie Duvall, Joint Task Force-Alaska

Duty Title:  Superintendent, Joint Operations

Major accomplishments according to the nomination package:  Duvall guided J3 during 673th Communications Squadron Staff Assistance Visit preparations, conducting self-inspections and fixing five discrepancies. The organization received a 100-percent pass rating. She launched the combined headquarters’ first-ever professional development program, leading a 16-member work group, setting protocols for NCO development for 80 attendees. As the booster club president, Duvall organized two fundraisers, earning $1,500 and volunteered at an Alaskan food bank, feeding 400 people. She completed a bachelor’s degree in Information Systems Management and graduated the 28-hour resident Defense Support of Civil Authority II course and all on-line prerequisite training – the only SNCO in command postured for civil support.

“It is an honor,” Duvall said of the award, thanking God, senior leadership and a professional team of coworkers. “The level of professionalism, leadership and talent this year was immense. This indeed is a privilege and an honor for which I am extremely grateful for the consideration. 

USNORTHCOM Company Grade Officer of the year:  HQ NORAD-USNORTHCOM, Capt. Michael C. Dunn

Duty Title:  Chief Instructor, Missile Warning Center Qualification Training

Major accomplishments according to the nomination package:  Dunn trained a record number of students, earning a 100-pass rate, the highest total in N-NC history and a 60-percent increase from 2012. He led development of 25 new scenarios and 57-percent of simulator products – an increased focus on 79 mission critical tasks. He revised 60-percent of the curriculum and improved training aids, enhancing student comprehension, situational awareness and performance. Dunn implemented a digital student binder program reducing administrative costs more than 90 percent per class. He presented a career seminar at the U.S. Air Force Academy educating cadets on space and missile operations and enhancing esprit de corps. The astute student also completed 12 credit hours toward a master’s in business administration while increasing his grade point average to 3.97.

“I feel inspired to continue to push for excellence in operations and training, and to give more of myself in service of the nation,” said an honored and humble Dunn. “I am thankful to all the members of the qualification training division, and especially our Missile Warning Center Qualification Training instructor team.  I can't express my thanks enough to all the members of the Qualification Training Division, as each individual has been in some way a help and an inspiration to me.  This has been the best job in my Air Force career, and I am proud to have the opportunity to serve here.”

USNORTHCOM Field Grade Officer of the Year: 

HQ NORAD-NORTHCOM, CDR Christopher D. Carter

Duty Title:  NORTHCOM J35 Future Operations Homeland Defense Planner

Major accomplishments according to the nomination package:  Carter was selected as the 2013 NORAD and USNORTHCOM Field Grade Officer of the Year. He served as the NORTHCOM future operations cell liaison officer to the National Guard Bureau for exercise Ardent Sentry-13 where he synced NORTHCOM, NGB and 32 other agencies, a total of 5,200 trained. Carter was selected as bi-command senior-leader briefer, highlighting the key and unique homeland defense mission. His community service efforts include volunteering with Habitat for Humanity as well as donating time to local charities and food banks. He was also the NORTHCOM J3 SECDEF Corp Fellows Program nominee, earning senior service college credit.

“I am honored to be recognized as the Field Grade Officer of the Year, but the award represents more than one person and reflects the hard work of the NORTHCOM J35 Homeland Defense Branch and the NORTHCOM J35,” said the commander thanking the civilian workforce for being the “glue” holding the command together. “Civilians provide the continuity, insight and background to active duty members that would be unavailable otherwise. I would like to thank Mr. Dave Petri, Mr. Bill Overmann and Mr. Terry Steed for their mentorship and guidance.  I would also like to thank CDR Chris ‘Gus’ Ford for providing opportunities for me to succeed and his leadership as the J35 Homeland Defense branch chief.”


HQ NORAD-USNORTHCOM, Judy G. Granczewski

Duty Title:  Executive Assistant, Contingency Operations Division

Major accomplishments according to the nomination package:  As the directorate’s sole Defense Travel System support member, Granczewski built 143 DTS actions, earning a 100-percent on-time travel. She served as the mobile consolidated command center deployers’ sole reachback during 12 deployments where she cleared 100-percent of hot taskers, directly supporting nine distinguished visitors. Granczewski ran training for two security focus days, training on communications security and security practices, eliminating 20 pounds of outdated records. She deployed with the MCCC team, performing perfect mission critical execution of deployment logistics for 60 people. As a volunteer at Cuchares Ranch Board of Directors, she fought for homeowners’ issues and won, creating a children’s play area and having speed signs posted. She also completed two four-hour courses. 

“I am earnestly grateful for the recognition I have received for my work, because I am very sure that every other nominee was as capable of winning this award,” said Granczewski. “I have faced several challenges on my way here, but each has only strengthened me to make me the person I am today; a thorough professional who knows exactly what she wants; someone who sets her eyes on a goal and does not take them off it unless it is achieved.  This award could not have been achieved without the inspiration I have received from my seniors and my colleagues, for whom I have deep respect, and from whom I have derived the strength to challenge myself and perform better at each stage.”



Duty Title:  Intelligence Specialist (Terrorism)

Major accomplishments according to the nomination package:  Gray deployed six months to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico as a threat analyst where she magnified vital US information sharing. She earned the HQ N-NC Category II Civilian of the 3rd Quarter, 2013. She proved to be a key player in USNORTHCOM-Mexico partnership building. Gray wrote a terrorism threat response to Congress and the assistant SECDEF earning praise for the scope and quality on command threat analysis. She completed the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Advanced Counterterrorism training course, improving her overall professional analytic skills and she pursued professional education improvement at two Counterterrorism Education Learning Labs in Denver.


AFNORTH, John S. Bender

Duty Title:  Chief, Emergency Management-Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Division

Major accomplishments according to the nomination package:  In his role as leader of the four-person division, he provides emergency management and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear expertise and advises the commander on EM-CBRN activities or incidents. He graduated from 2013 Defense Support of Civil Authorities II Course and earned the 1st Air Force Category III Civilian of the Year 2013 as well as the Air National Guard Civilian Emergency Manager of the Year 2013 awards.

“I would like to thank Lt. Col. Kimberly Bennett, Col. Betty J. Marshall and Ms. Ann Garner who have been outstanding leaders and mentors that always supported me and provided an environment where I could pursue projects and activities to better the organization as well as myself,” said Bender.