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SCANG recognizes recent retirees, annual award winners and key promotions

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder
  • 169th Fighter Wing/Public Affairs

The South Carolina Air National Guard celebrated the new year with a ceremony in the main hangar to recognize recent retirees, 169th Fighter Wing and SCANG Airmen and Unit of the Year, Exceptional Promotion Program selections and the new 169th FW Command Chief Master Sergeant, Jan. 12, 2014.


The ceremony kicked-off with the singing of the national anthem by Staff Sgt. Nicole Szews, from the 169th Operations Support Flight, and the invocation by the 169th FW Chaplain, Lt. Col. Brian Bohlman.


Following the invocation, fourteen recent retirees from the SCANG were recognized. Each of them joined Col. Mike Manning, 169th FW commander, on stage to be individually recognized and presented with their awards. Additionally, each retiree's spouse in attendance was recognized with a certificate of appreciation for their unselfish support and devoted service. Listed below are the retirees that were honored for their service.


            Lt. Col. David Sturgeon, 169th Fighter Wing, 23 years

            Lt. Col. Lester Carroll, 169th Fighter Wing, 28 years

            Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Brunson, 169th Maintenance Squadron, 34 years

            Senior Master Sgt. William "Tommy" Claytor, 169th Maintenance Squadron, 31years

            Senor Master Sgt. Linda Coleman, 169th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 32 years

            Master Sgt. Billy Bean, 169th Communications Flight, 29 years

            Master Sgt. Willie Boyd, 169th Maintenance Squadron, 29 years

Master Sgt. Mark Garman, 169th Mission Support Group, 36 years

            Master Sgt. Arthur Macon, 169th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 26 years

            Master Sgt. Steve Meisner, 169th Maintenance Operations Flight, 32 years

            Master Sgt. James Steppe, 169th Civil Engineer Squadron, 27 years

            Tech. Sgt. Brent Dalton, 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron, 20 years

            Tech. Sgt. Wendall Drown, 169th Maintenance Squadron, 17 years

            Tech. Sgt. Anne Witcher, 169th Operations Support Flight, 20 years


Next to be recognized were the 169th FW Airmen of the Year winners. Each category had a traditional and fulltime winner and each winner stood next to their unit commander to be recognized for their achievements.


            Airman Category

Airman 1st Class Brittney Fleenor, 169th Communications Flight (traditional)

Senior Airman Michael Shelley, 169th Communications Flight (fulltime)

NCO Category

Technical Sgt. Bryan Anthony, 169th Maintenance Squadron (traditional)

Technical Sgt. Christopher Knotts, 169th Comptroller Flight (fulltime)

Senior NCO Category  

Senior Master Sgt. David Keller, 169th Maintenance Squadron (traditional)

Master Sgt. Chris Wimberly, 169th Security Forces Squadron (fulltime)

First Sergeant Category

Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Benson, 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron

Company Grade Officer Category

Capt. Mark Fattmann, 157th Fighter Squadron, (traditional)

Capt. Richard Garin, 169th Operations Group, (fulltime)

Field Grade Officer Category

Maj. Ryan Corrigan, 157th Fighter Squadron, (traditional)

Lt. Col. John Wilcox, 169th Fighter Wing (fulltime)


The overall SCANG Airmen of the Year winners were recognized next. They joined Col. Manning on stage and were congratulated for their selection. The winners listed below will further compete in the Air National Guard's AOY competition.


            Overall Airman Winner

            Senior Airman Michael Shelley, 169th Communications Flight

            Overall NCO Winner

            Tech. Sgt. Christopher Knotts, 169th Comptroller Flight

            Overall Senior NCO Winner

            Master Sgt. Chris Wimberly, 169th Security Forces Squadron

            Overall First Sergeant Winner

Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Benson, 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron

            Overall Company Grade Officer Winner

            Capt. Gareth Fleischer, 169th Civil Engineer Squadron

Overall Field Grade Officer Winner

            Lt. Col. John Wilcox, 169th Fighter Wing
              Family of the Year Winner

              Master Sgt. Jeffrey Hopper, 169th Maintenance Squadron


Next to be recognized were the promotions for exceptional performance under the provisions of the Air National Guard's Exceptional Promotion Program. The SCANG's newest senior master sergeant is Rosemary Hawthorne, from the 169th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, and the newest chief master sergeant is Robert Thibault, also from the 169th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.   


Brig. Gen. Calvin Elam, the Assistant Adjutant General for Air, presented the highly-prized trophy for Outstanding Unit of the Year to the 169th Civil Engineer Squadron. Lt. Col. Tim Dotson, the 169th CES commander, accepted the trophy on behalf of his unit amidst the applause of the entire SCANG.


Col. Manning was next to share some good news with the unit by announcing the selection of Chief Master Sgt. Stephen Shepherd as the next 169th FW Command Chief.  Chief Shepherd will become the sixth wing command chief when he begins this new assignment in April.


The results from the recent Unit Climate Assessment were discussed by Col. Manning. He said it raised awareness in the need for continued improvements in the development of our Airmen and our places of work.


"This time of year is a good chance to reflect on your accomplishments and to set new goals for the coming year," said Col. Manning. "Make it a point to be a positive influence on your unit or shop and in the process, prepare yourself for future leadership opportunities."


Brig. Gen. Elam spoke to the assembled Swamp Fox Airmen for his final formation before his retirement in February after 33 years of service. He offered his congratulations to each of the retirees and their families and remarked how proud he was of the annual award winners and promotion recipients.


He said, "I cannot thank the SCANG enough for all that it has done to help me in my career over the past 27 years here at McEntire. I would not have been able to enjoy any measure of success without the great casts of people that I've had to work with.  The SCANG will always be first in my heart."


Brig. Gen. Elam wrapped-up his comments by thanking everyone for all they have done and will continue to do to demonstrate the success of the SCANG by building upon the reputation of the Swamp Fox as a brand that is recognized around the world just like Coke, Pepsi, Google and Nike. He thanked the deploying members in advance for the great job they will do during the upcoming deployment.


"I know you will do a good job. You are Swamp Foxes. It's in your DNA," said Brig. Gen. Elam.