HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. --
Air Commandos gathered to honor their top performers during the Outstanding Airmen and civilians of the Year banquet June 27 at Hurlburt Field, Florida.
The OAY banquet is an annual celebration honoring the best Airmen and civilians in Air Force Special Operations Command. Supervisors nominated Airmen with exceptional service in their workplace and communities, who also excelled in their professional development.
The 2018 AFSOC OAY award recipients are:
Senior Airman Christopher J. Weaver, 27th Special Operations Contracting Squadron
Tech. Sgt. Kenneth T. O’Brien, 353rd Special Operations Group
Master Sgt. Christopher G. Ross, 1st Special Operations Security Forces Squadron
Master Sgt. Robert J. Stevens, 727th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
COMPANY GRADE OFFICER
Capt. Michael D. Jones, Directorate of Special Activities, Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command
Senior Airman Jeremiah E. Peoples, 1st Special Operations Force Support Squadron
Tech. Sgt. James Balajadia, 27th Special Operations Force Support Suqadron
Capt. Heather M. Roman, 56th Special Operations Intelligence Squadron
Master Sgt. Lucas T. Jacobson, 492nd Special Operations Training Group
Mrs. Cynthia Gutierrez, 27th Special Operations Aerospace Medicine Squadron
Mr. Kevin W. Curtis, 371st Special Operations Combat Training Squadron
Mr. John E. Berenics, 1st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Mr. Michael L. Tuomien, 1st Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron
Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, served as the keynote speaker at the event. The night’s events were Webb’s last in command of AFSOC.
“I could not think of a more appropriate or really more awesome event to be attending than the OAY event,” said Webb. “This event for me is the highlight of the year. I’ve been blessed to be able to participate in it for three years running now.”
The theme for the banquet was remembering Operation Thursday and the other great sacrifices of AFSOC’s Air Commandos.
“There’s a theme to this year and this speech, and it’s about courage, determination and innovation,” said Webb. “Those attributes are what defined our OAY members. We are all steeped in a rich culture here at AFSOC and we have been since our inception in World War II.”
Webb further commented about the achievements of Air Commandos.
“Air Commandos don’t let challenges stop them from getting the mission done,” said Webb. “We don’t quit. We know there is a way, we find it. When put to the test, Air Commandos have the moral and physical courage to prevail; courage, determination and innovation. Every one of you OAY Airmen out here have a little bit of Lt. Col. Dick Cole and Master Sgt. John Chapman in you. Your accomplishments reflect your own courage, determination and innovation. You have the eye of the tiger, you have the guts to try and you know there is a way and you will find it.”
Webb ended the night with a final word to the OAY Airmen.
“In the face of resurgent great powers competition, you continue to sharpen the AFSOC blade to deliver impact of specialized airpower across the spectrum of conflict," said Webb. "I appreciate each and every one of you and I am honored to serve with such incredible leaders.”