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Story by: Sgt. Major Corine Lombardo - , Joint Force Headquarters
Dated: Tue, Apr 28, 2015
CLIFTON PARK, NY The accomplishments of eight New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen were applauded by their peers during the Enlisted Association of the New York National Guard annual dinner, April 25.
“Out of nearly 16,000 Soldiers and Airmen in the New York National Guard, these enlisted members have risen to the top and deserve to be recognized for these outstanding achievements,” said Frank Wicks, Enlisted Association of the New York National Guard president.
More than 120 members of the Association and guests joined Wicks in congratulating the honorees during the annual dinner.
The top enlisted leader of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, a guest at the banquet praised the six Airmen and two soldiers for their achievements.
“I am honored to be here to meet these exceptional Soldiers and Airmen,” said Navy Fleet Master Chief Terrence I. Molidor.
Molidor is the senior enlisted advisor to Admiral Bill Gortney, the commander of NORTHCOM, headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base, CO.
“NORTHCOM is tasked to defend the homeland and we rely on the National Guard to provide the support to our civil authorities. The bottom line is when the American people are looking to someone in uniform to help them during an emergency - or shelter them in need, it’s the National Guard they turn to,” Molidor said.
Top enlisted members recognized by the Enlisted Association are:
• Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Christian Hager, New York Army National Guard NCO of the Year, an infantry squad leader assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry, based in Geneseo;
• Army National Guard Specialist Michael Rowland, New York Army National Guard Soldier of the Year, a personnel specialist assigned to the 501st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion based in Glenville;
• Air National Guard Master Sgt. Amy Taylor, New York Air National Guard Senior NCO of the Year, a Quality Assurance NCOIC, assigned to the Easter Air Defense Sector, Rome;
• Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Douglas Kechijian, New York Air National Guard NCO of the Year, a Guardian Angel Element Leader assigned to the 103rd Rescue Squadron, Westhampton Beach. Kechijian was also selected as the Air National Guard NCO of the Year;
• Air National Guard Master Sgt. Michael Lazzari, New York Air National Guard First Sergeant of the Year, he is assigned to the 109th Airlift Wing Mission Support Group, Scotia.
• Air National Guard Sr. Airman James Comstock, New York Air National Guard Airman of the Year, a supply technician assigned to the 109th Airlift Wing based in Scotia;
• Air National Guard Staff Sgt Richard Burns, New York Air National Guard Honor Guard Manager of the Year, a Radio Frequency Transmissions Craftsman assigned to the Easter Air Defense Sector, Rome and;
• Air National Guard Master Sgt. Eric Lent, New York Air National Guard Honor Guard Member of the Year, an Intelligence Operations Specialist assigned to the 138th Attack Squadron, Syracuse.
The Enlisted Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the status, welfare, and professionalism of all members of the State’s organized militia, also recognized their annual education award recipients during the dinner. Cash awards are granted to members and family to be used towards continued education. This year, the association presented a total of $7,500 to 12 recipients.
“Honoring our outstanding enlisted members and presenting our education awards is the highlight of the evening,” said Wicks. “We get to recognize the exceptional achievements of our members and help the next generation achieve their dreams.”