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  • ANG's Outstanding First Sergeant of the Year: Master Sgt. Sally Ford

    Whether it's a wing of almost 1,000 Airmen, or a family of five, taking care of people is what drives Master Sgt. Sally J. Ford, the Air National Guard's 2015 Outstanding First Sergeant of the Year.

    Ford is assigned to the California Air National Guard's 129th Rescue Wing, where she is a first sergeant for the 129th Mission Support Group. She also spent seven months last year deployed to Saudi Arabia as the first sergeant for a mixed-component unit in US Central Command.

    Ford spent 11 years as active duty Air Force, serving first in security forces and then as a paralegal, but when her daughter's special needs required that the Ford family settle into a permanent residence, they moved to California, and Ford transitioned to the Guard. "For my family I left active duty, but I still had the sincere desire to serve and the Guard allowed me to do that," she said.

  • Oklahoma ANG unit begins transition with arrival of first MC-12W aircraft

    The Oklahoma Air National Guard's 137th Air Refueling Wing welcomed the arrival of the Air Force MC-12W aircraft here, July 10.

    The arrival of the MC-12 marks the return of flying operations to WRANGB for the first time since 2007.

    The 137 ARW received the MC-12 based on its manpower, facilities, existing command structure, and strong relationships with local community leaders. The geographical location of the 137th provides a highly conducive flying environment and appropriate training facilities.

  • ANG's Outstanding Senior NCO of the Year: Master Sgt. Maria Quitugua

    Personal accomplishment and a desire to inspire the next generation is what motivates Master Sgt. Maria R. Quitugua, the Air National Guard's 2015 Outstanding Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.

    Quitugua is a security forces Airman from the Guam Air National Guard's 254th Security Forces Squadron, who was honored for her leadership and commitment to both her unit's mission and her Airmen.

    Quitugua was a special education teacher when she answered the call to serve in uniform.

  • ANG's Outstanding NCO of the Year: Staff Sgt. Douglas Kechijian

    The drive to succeed in a job he thoroughly enjoys while being able to serve others is what fuels Staff Sgt. Douglas Kechijian, the Air National Guard's 2015 Outstanding Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, and one of the Air Force's 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.

    Kechijian serves as a pararescueman with the New York Air National Guard's 106th Rescue Wing, based in Westhampton Beach, Long Island, New York. As a native New Yorker graduating from college shortly after 9/11, he sought a way to take his ability and skills farther and found it with the Guard.

  • ANG's Outstanding Airman of the Year: Senior Airman Jonathan Smail

    A thirst for knowledge and making connections with people is what motivates Senior Airman Jonathan R. Smail, the Air National Guard 2015 Outstanding Airman of the Year.

    Smail is a RF Transmissions Systems Journeyman with the Colorado ANG's 233rd Space Communications Squadron, based in Greeley, Colorado. He was chosen for his commitment to improving the programs and people in his unit.

    Smail says that he has always wanted to make a life out of serving others. He was a college student working towards a teaching degree when a friend joined the Air Force. After talking with him about his experience, Smail felt the call to join something bigger than himself.

  • CMSAF touts 'One Air Force' during ANG enlisted call

    The Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force, James A. Cody, shared his thoughts on the future of the force with Air National Guard Airmen during an enlisted call July 23 here.

    During the discussion, Cody addressed the professional development of Airmen, diversity and possible changes in the way the Air Force integrates the active-duty and reserve components in the years ahead.

    "This [discussion] is a great opportunity," said Cody. "It's important that we have a dialog so I can represent you in the right way and that means knowing what's on your mind, what concerns you have and what questions you have about what we're working on and hopefully I'll be able to give you a perspective on why we're doing things."

  • New Jersey Air National Guard trains with Bulgarian air force at Thracian Star 2015

    Approximately 150 Airmen and eight F-16s from the 177th Fighter Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard traveled overseas to participate in Thracian Star 2015, a Bulgarian-led training exercise at Graf Ignatievo Air Force Base, Bulgaria, from 13-24, July.

    Thracian Star is a bilateral, total force training event to enhance interoperability with the Bulgarian air force and to bolster readiness to conduct combined air operations.

    "I'm very happy that the representatives of the New Jersey Air National Guard are here," said Bulgarian air force Brig. Gen. Ivan Lalov, Graf Ignatievo Air Base commander. "It is always beneficial for the both sides, and it goes in two directions. First, in the air combat training such as basic flight maneuvers, to make our way of flying similar to each other's and second, while we're not flying, we succeed in developing new relationships, friendships, cultural differences and interesting facts about each other and each other'