16th IS captain selected as ROA annual award winner
By Stacy Vaughn, 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 18, 2018
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Capt. Theresa Eckard, 16th Intelligence Squadron flight commander, has been selected as the 2018 Reserve Officers Association Air Force Junior Officer of the Year.
The award was presented to Eckard Sept. 28, 2018 during the Annual ROA National Convention held at the Omaha Hilton Hotel, Omaha, Nebraska. It recognizes individuals who made significant contributions to the Air Force Reserve.
She was recognized for her work as an intelligence officer assigned to the 16th IS, a Classic Associate Reserve unit supporting the 94th Intelligence Squadron, 70th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Wing, Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. She served on the Air Force Association Reserve Council, where she proposed, researched and submitted position papers to advocate for congressional legislative change on issues that impact Air Force reservists.
Eckard represented the Air Force Reserve in two highly selective international exchanges; the Military Reserve Exchange Program, a two-week exchange with the Royal Air Force Reserve in the United Kingdom and the International Junior Officer Leadership Development program, a multi-national program with NATO countries. Upon return from the programs, Capt. Eckard authored two trip reports of these international exchanges to demonstrate high return on investment that she shared with AFRC leaders to champion for increased quotas for Air Force Reserve member.
“Winning this award is such an honor,” said Eckard. “It’s a validation that I am doing the right things that can really make a difference on the Air Force Reserve, whether through program advocacy, positive representation in the international sphere with our foreign military partners and professional growth of our Airmen by offering mentorship and possibly even inspiration to others.”
She credits Lt. Col. Jeff Derr, 16th IS Commander, and Maj. John Durkee, 16 IS Assistant Director of Operations, for their support in integrating her into the unit and for submitting her for the award.
“Theresa embodies everything great about the Air Force Reserve. She utilizes her complete leadership toolkit, incorporates her civilian expertise, and takes care of Airmen,” said Lt. Col. Derr. “I can count on Capt Eckard to take care of Airmen and push ideas to better the Reserve Enterprise.”
The captain is also a civilian Air Force employee and is spoken highly of by her civilian peers where she is the deputy chief of the A2 Partnerships and Engagements division.
“I can think of no better reservist to receive this award than Capt. Eckard. I’ve had the honor of working for and with her in her civilian capacity at Headquarters Air Force as Dr. Eckard,” said Maj. Alea Nadeem. “Dr. Eckard takes care of her Airmen and makes it a priority to care for her team. She always shares credit with her peers and her team. We are both reservists and she has been an amazing Wingwoman and someone I can always lean on.”