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The SCANG recently named its 2012 award winners

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Pelham Myers Jr.
  • 169th FW/PA
The SCANG recently named its 2012 Airmen of the Year award winners. The Airman, noncommissioned officer and senior NCO honorees will be recognized during this spring's Guard Association conference and again during the wing's next quarterly awards and promotions ceremony.

Airman of the Year - Senior Airman Mathew Dick is a ground radar journeyman assigned to the 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron. He was born in Kansas, but graduated from Sumter High School in 2005. After graduation, he attended the University of South Carolina while maintaining a full time job. Dick enlisted in the SCANG in 2008 and graduated from tech school at Keesler AFB in time to participate in McEntire's most recent operational readiness inspection and earn an Air Force Achievement medal for his shop's tool program. Eventually, he was selected for a federal technician position, and, since that time, he has revamped the Safety and Hazardous Communications programs for his shop to ensure compliance with local and federal regulations. He volunteered to deploy for a six-month tour of duty in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in October 2011, during which he received a coin from AFCENT's top commander of Security Forces for excellent work performance. Dick currently is enrolled in Airman Leadership School and plans to complete his Community College of the Air Force degree while solidifying his status as a role model for the enlisted force.

NCO of the Year - Tech. Sgt. David Caldwell has been an air traffic control specialist with the 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron since 2006. He is a Columbia native and graduate of W.J. Keenan High School. Caldwell's primary duties include maintaining a nearly constant flow of air traffic while ensuring aircraft flight safety on the ground, in relation to terrain, obstructions and other aircraft. Other duties include, but are not limited to, RADAR watch aupervisor at McEntire Ground Approach Control, air traffic control OJT instructor/trainer and supervisor of a crew of four-to-eight NCOs and Airmen. Caldwell continues to seek opportunities to maximize the efficiency of the current training program while capitalizing on every opportunity to advance his professional development in mentoring younger Airmen to do the same.

Senior NCO of the Year -
Senior Master Sgt. Barry Boyle is the Aerospace Control Alert chief enlisted manager for the 169th Fighter Wing. He is the ACA's primary technical advisor for maintenance and assists work center supervisors in managing the aircraft maintenance effort. Boyle was born in Myrtle Beach and graduated with from Socastee High School in 1980. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the Air Force for four years, and he eventually joined the SCANG in 1989 as an aircraft technician. Boyle deployed for Operations Desert Storm/Desert Shield and for Enduring Freedom, where he was assigned to the 366th Air Expeditionary Wing Maintenance Operations Center and awarded the Air Force Accommodation Medal for the development of a software program used to track and manage mission essential equipment. This program later was adopted as a 366nd Air Expeditionary Maintenance Group standard. Boyle also served four years as a lead inspector and was instrumental in the wing's achievement of multiple outstanding ratings during higher headquarter inspections. Boyle also volunteers with the swimming and baseball teams at Spring Valley High School and is pursuing his CCAF degree in aircraft technology.

169th Fighter Wing (Traditional) Airman of the Year - Senior Airman Joshua Pelletier is an F16 crew chief with the 169th Maintenance Squadron and is directly responsible for maintaining and generating aircraft. Pelletier attended the Universal Technical Institute in Massachusetts and was awarded a degree in automotive technology in 2008. He joined the SCANG in 2011 as a crew chief apprentice and is beginning classes at Embry Riddle Aeronautical Institute for a degree in aeronautics.

169th Fighter Wing (Full Time) Airman of the Year - Senior Airman Ashleigh David is a command post journeyman with the 169th Fighter Wing as a console controller. The Sumter native graduated from Laurence Manning Academy in 2000 and completed studies at USC with a bachelor's degree in criminology and a minor in sociology. After college, she was employed with the S.C. Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services as a probation and parole agent. She then enlisted in the SCANG and received the Distinguished Graduate award upon completion of technical school. She began working fulltime in the Command Post at McEntire in 2010 and was a key component of the alert mission's transfer from Shaw AFB. David also played vital roles in the recent Unit Compliance Inspection, Alert Force Operational Assessment and the Operation Palmetto Guardian, a statewide anti-terrorism exercise. She recently competed in various half-marathons and won first place for her age division in the Earth Fare 8K. David is training to compete in the Air Force Marathon in September. Her military awards include the Air Force Commendation Medal for outstanding performance during the 2012 AFOA.

169th Fighter Wing (Traditional) NCO of the Year - Tech. Sgt. Walter Gordon, Jr. is a contracting specialist with the 169th Mission Support Group Base Contracting Office. He was born on Johns Island and attended St. Johns High School. After graduating from USC in 2001, Gordon enlisted in the Air Force and was assigned to the 3rd Contracting Squadron at Elmendorf AFB, AK. He eventually separated from active duty and joined the SCANG as a traditional Guardsman in 2006. Within a year; he became a civilian contracting specialist at Charleston AFB. Gordon continued to expand his horizons in 2008 when he assumed the position of contracting specialist with the US Army Corps of Engineers in Charleston. His duties include overseeing ten nationwide facilities maintenance contracts for the Marine Reserve Program, valued at $40 million dollars. Gordon has earned several military awards, including the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

169th Fighter Wing (Full Time) NCO of the Year - Staff Sgt. Ruth Fleenor is a human resource specialist assigned to the 169th Force Support Squadron. She attended Lexington High School, where she participated in the marching band, symphonic band and jazz band. While still attending high school, Fleenor enlisted in the SCANG as a traditional Guardsman in 1998. After completing her first enlistment, she separated from the Guard in 2006 and returned as an optometry technician assigned to the 169th Medical Group in 2008. She then joined the 169th Security Forces Squadron as personnel specialist in 2009. Later that year, she accepted a temporary technician position with the Base Contracting Office as a contract specialist. Fleenor became the full-time administrative support technician for the 169th Civil Engineer Squadron in 2010. She now plans and directs all aspects of the Force Management Program for FSS; she provides advice, interprets policies, provides procedural guidance, assists and trains commanders, supervisors and personnel on separations, retirements, conditional releases, disability evaluations and stop-loss. During her time with the SCANG, Fleenor has earned CCAF degrees in criminal justice and human resources management. Her military awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster and the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon (Rifle).

169th Fighter Wing (Traditional) Senior NCO of the Year - Senior Master Sgt. Robert Thibault is assigned to the 169th Maintenance Squadron as avionics flightline supervisor/dispatcher, but his Guard career began while he was a high school senior in 1977. That's when he enlisted in the 188th Fighter Wing of the Arkansas Air National Guard. Thibault completed his initial training at Chanute AFB, IL, as an avionics instrument and autopilot systems technician and was assigned to the 188th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. He continued his technical training when the unit converted to the F-4 Phantom fighter in 1979. After several transfers, Thibault eventually joined the SCANG in 2009. He and his family since have volunteered for several efforts at McEntire, including the latest Air Show. He also has been very active in the enlisted associations of the Arkansas and South Carolina units and spends many hours volunteering to coach track and field and support the Boy Scouts of America. He also works with the Wounded Warriors and Make-A-Wish Foundations. Thibault's military awards and accomplishments include the Meritorious Service Medal, Arkansas Air National Guard First Sergeant of the Year and the National Defense Service Medal.