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Wing celebrates standout Airmen of 2017

419th Fighter Wing award winners stand alongside wing leadership

419th Fighter Wing annual awards banquet winners stand alongside Col. David Smith (far left), 419th FW commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Arvie McGinnis (far right), 419th FW command chief, Feb. 10, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airmen Justin Fuchs)

Retired Maj. Gen. Alfred K. Flowers speaks at the 419th Fighter Wing's annual awards banquet Feb. 10, 2018

Retired Maj. Gen. Alfred K. Flowers speaks at the 419th Fighter Wing's annual awards banquet Feb. 10, 2018. Flowers is the longest-serving Airman in military history, with a career spanning more than 46 years. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Justin Fuchs)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- The 419th Fighter Wing held its annual awards banquet Saturday at the Fountain View Event Venue in Farmington to honor its Airmen and celebrate their outstanding service in 2017.

 

The 419th FW celebrated with one of the Air Force core values – “Excellence in all we do” – as a common theme throughout the night.

 

The evening began with a backstage ceremony where Col. David Smith, 419th FW commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Arvie McGinnis, 419th FW command chief, presented the nominees with medallions and gave flowers to their honored guests.

 

“Tonight is all about our Airmen who are here to serve our nation,” Smith said. “So that’s why I think it’s important for us to dress up tonight and pay respect to our heritage.”

 

The Airmen continued celebrating with a social, dinner, and drinks, before being addressed by guest speaker retired Maj. Gen. Alfred K. Flowers. Flowers is the longest-serving Airman in military history, with a career spanning more than 46 years, he is the longest-serving African-American in the history of the U. S. Department of Defense.

 

Flowers spoke about service, leadership, and excellence, and commended the wing and its Airmen on the work they are doing at Hill.

 

“We are to always strive for excellence and we ought to try for perfection,” Flowers said. “I believe that on Hill Air Force Base a lot of excellence is taking place.”

 

After Flowers’ remarks, award winners were named in the following categories:

 

Airman of the Year

Senior Airman Jared Stapleton

 

NCO of the Year

Tech. Sgt. Halley Schilk

 

Senior NCO of the Year

Master Sgt. Colin Olson

 

Field Grade Officer of the Year

Maj. Ryan Miller

 

Company Grade Officer of the Year

1st Lt. Cory Bobo

 

Civilian Category I of the Year

Ezer Guimaraes

 

Civilian Category II of the Year

Daniel Olvera

 

Team of the Year

419th Operations Support Flight

 

First Sergeant of the Year

Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth Kowalczyk

 

Employer of the Year

Salt Lake City Police Department

 

Honor Guard Member of the Year

Staff Sgt. Sharla Bowen

 

Chief’s Award of the Year for Excellence 

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Tafoya