Wing celebrates standout Airmen of 2017

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — The 419th Fighter Wing held its annual awards banquet Saturday at the Fountain View Event Venue in Farmington to honor its Airmen and celebrate their outstanding service in 2017.

The 419th FW celebrated with one of the Air Force core values – “Excellence in all we do” – as a common theme throughout the night.

The evening began with a backstage ceremony where Col. David Smith, 419th FW commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Arvie McGinnis, 419th FW command chief, presented the nominees with medallions and gave flowers to their honored guests.

“Tonight is all about our Airmen who are here to serve our nation,” Smith said. “So that’s why I think it’s important for us to dress up tonight and pay respect to our heritage.”

The Airmen continued celebrating with a social, dinner, and drinks, before being addressed by guest speaker retired Maj. Gen. Alfred K. Flowers. Flowers is the longest-serving Airman in military history, with a career spanning more than 46 years, he is the longest-serving African-American in the history of the U. S. Department of Defense.

Flowers spoke about service, leadership, and excellence, and commended the wing and its Airmen on the work they are doing at Hill.

“We are to always strive for excellence and we ought to try for perfection,” Flowers said. “I believe that on Hill Air Force Base a lot of excellence is taking place.”

After Flowers’ remarks, award winners were named in the following categories:

Airman of the Year

Senior Airman Jared Stapleton

NCO of the Year

Tech. Sgt. Halley Schilk

Senior NCO of the Year

Master Sgt. Colin Olson

Field Grade Officer of the Year

Maj. Ryan Miller

Company Grade Officer of the Year

1st Lt. Cory Bobo

Civilian Category I of the Year

Ezer Guimaraes

Civilian Category II of the Year

Daniel Olvera

Team of the Year

419th Operations Support Flight

First Sergeant of the Year

Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth Kowalczyk

Employer of the Year

Salt Lake City Police Department

Honor Guard Member of the Year

Staff Sgt. Sharla Bowen

Chief’s Award of the Year for Excellence

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Tafoya