BOSSIER CITY, La. — Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James presented the Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal (NDOSM) for the first time to 25 Airmen during Air Force Global Strike Command’s 2014 Global Strike Challenge, Nov. 5.
James approved the award in May with the intent of recognizing Airmen for their contributions to the nation’s strategic objectives in nuclear deterrence. She presented the medals after her speech during day two of the symposium, held at the Bossier Civic Center, Bossier City, Louisiana.
During her speech, James said she has visited 49 bases around the world in her first 10 months as secretary, but there are a few specific locations that stick with her.
“I’ve had a special place in my heart and in my travel plans for our Air Force Global Strike bases since almost my first day on the job,” James said. “This week’s challenge demonstrates your dedication, skill, and passion for the mission … the same passion and skill I saw when I visited your bases earlier this year. There is no mission more important to our nation’s security than the nuclear mission.”
Addressing a crowd of 800 command competitors, Airmen and symposium attendees, James talked about perseverance and facing adversity. Like in any endeavor, success doesn’t come easy — it’s what comes after that’s important, she said.
“The example you’ve set over the last year shows Airmen across the service — in the Combat Air Forces, the Mobility Air Forces, in space and cyberspace — that overcoming adversity really is a step on the path to success,” James continued.
In recognition of AFGSC Airmen and their exceptional contributions to national defense, 25 medals were awarded, with the remainder to follow in the spring.
“I am very honored and feel privileged to receive this award because I really love being in missiles,” said Staff Sgt. Amber Moore, a missile chef in the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB, Montana. “It’s been nothing but an honor serving with maintenance teams, missileers and the cops as well. This is a huge deal for me.”
In the mind of one Airman, the new medal is part of a larger effort to affect change within the nuclear enterprise culture.
“It’s exciting. It’s one of the steps in creating a new culture among missileers and anyone associated with missiles, reinvigorating our mission and what we do for America,” said 1st Lt. Carolyn Hockaday, a missile combat crew commander with the 490th Missile Squadron, also at Malmstrom AFB. “Without us and the rest of the triad, America wouldn’t be as safe.”
Medal recipients represented a variety of career fields eligible to receive the decoration.
The following Airmen, who represent the active-duty, Air National Guard and Reserve forces, received the first medals:
From Minot AFB, North Dakota
• 1st Lt. Victoria Fort, an combat crew instructor, representing nuclear and missile operations, 91st Missile Wing
• Staff Sgt. Brett Jordan, a B-52 dedicated crew chief, representing bomber crew chiefs, 5th Bomb Wing
• Airman 1st Class Robert Cook, a maps technician, representing missile and space system maintenance, 91st Missile Wing
• Staff Sgt. Kamuela Kalilikane, a facility maintenance team training instructor, representing missile and space facilities, 91st Missile Wing
• Tech. Sgt. Matthew Westad, a group facility maintenance instructor, representing facility managers, 91st Missile Wing
• Capt. Clyde Vickery, the chief of standardization and evaluation, representing rescue pilots, 91st Missile Wing
From F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming
• Capt. Dan Cook, an intercontinental ballistic missile launch combat crew commander, nuclear and missile operations, 90th Missile Wing
• Capt. David Skelly, an aircraft commander, representing rescue pilots, 90th Missile Wing
• Airman Riley Borges, a response force member, representing security forces, 90th Missile Wing
• Airman 1st Class Joseph Tucker, a maps technician, representing missile and space system maintenance, 90th Missile Wing
From Malmstrom AFB, Montana
• 1st Lt. Carolyn Hockaday, an OSS instructor, representing nuclear and missile operations, 341st Missile Wing
• Tech. Sgt. Christopher Zachary, an electrical maintenance technician quality assurance evaluator, representing missile and space systems electronic maintenance, 341st Missile Wing
• Staff Sgt. Amber Moore, representing missile chefs, 341st Missile Wing
• Airman 1st Class Andrew Matthews, a nuclear weapons technician, representing nuclear weapons career field, 341st Missile Wing
• Staff Sgt. Bob Kohlenberg, an instructor flight engineer/scheduling non-commissioned officer, representing special mission aviation, 341st Missile Wing
From Whiteman AFB, Missouri
• Airman 1st Class Jeremiah Neer, a weapons maintenance team member, representing nuclear weapons career field, 509th Bomb Wing
• Staff Sgt. Cole Miller, a command post controller, representing command post controllers, 131st Bomb Wing, Air National Guard
From Barksdale AFB, Louisiana
• Capt. Mehul Brahmbhatt, an executive officer, representing bomber navigators, 2nd Bomb Wing
• Tech. Sgt. Erin Bernik, a squadron lead crew member, 2 man, representing aircraft armament, 307th Bomb Wing, Air Force Reserves
• Staff Sgt. Nicole Cowles, a Personnel Reliability Program medical records technician, representing medical support staff, 2nd Bomb Wing
• Tech. Sgt. Jessica Chebaro, a strategic logistics planner, representing logistic planners, 608th Strategic Operations Squadron, 8th Air Force
• Master Sgt. Janie Rodriguez, an NCO in charge, security forces training, standards and evaluation, representing security forces, Air Force Global Strike Command
• Tech. Sgt. Crystal Velez-Greenhill, a quality assurance manager, representing financial management and comptrollers, Air Force Global Strike Command
• Staff Sgt. Giavonia Fields, an NCO in charge, headquarters Air Force Global Strike Command commander support staff, representing personnel
• Maj. Raymundo Vann, a nuclear and missile operations lead, representing nuclear and missile operations, Air Force Global Strike Command
This medal is awarded in recognition of the special trust and responsibility placed upon AFGSC Airmen as they perform nuclear deterrence operations, providing safe, secure and effective deterrence for our nation, with the most powerful weapons in the nation’s arsenal.