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Wing sweeps awards
Photo and story by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, 177FW/PA

In an unprecedented sweep, 177th Fighter Wing Airmen won all three of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of New Jersey Air Guard awards.

Recipients are judged on appearance and bearing, military background and professional knowledge, current efforts for advancement, leadership abilities and their contribution toward the improvement of unit performance and esprit-decorps, and finally participation in civic activities.

EANGNJ awardees (l-r) Master Sgt. June I. Kelly, Master Sgt. Joseph A. Iacovone Jr.and Senior Airman Tara M. Cullen.

Master Sgt. June I. Kelly who received the Command Sgt. Maj. Wilfred Z. Lea Outstanding 1st Sgt. Award commented: "It was an honor to be recognized for something I love to do.”

Kelly, a 14-year veteran with the 177th, serves as the Fighter Wing, Operations Group, Operations Support Flight, the geographically separated Warren Grove Range and the 119th Fighter Squadron First Sergeant. During her career, she has served in both Operations’ Enduring Freedom – at Diego Garcia – and Noble Eagle.

Master Sgt. Joseph A. Iacovone Jr. was awarded the Sgt. Maj. Harry Arbeitman Outstanding Noncommissioned Officer Award.

A 177th Security Forces Airman since 1990, Iacovone has served in Operations’ Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle. In Iraq, Iacovone’s 13-Airmen Quick Reaction Force responded to a 2,000 pound vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) that struck an Army convoy outside the base, deterring follow on attacks and a second attack.

“It was an honor to accept this award as a representative of the 177th Security Forces,” acknowledged Iacovone.

Rounding out the sweep, Senior Airman Tara M. Cullen was presented with the Master Sergeant John E. Bodine Junior Enlisted Award (Air National Guard).

“As a first-term Airman, it was an honor to receive this award,” stated Cullen.

While serving on Iacovone’s QRF team, Cullen’s immediate and decisive action during the VBIED attack enabled the quick evacuation of six wounded Soldiers.

Truly an extraordinary group of Airmen.

Army Guard EANGNJ Award recipients

Command Sgt. Maj. Wilfred Z. Lea Outstanding First Sergeant Award: Master Sgt. Patrick Kildea. Position: 112th Fires Battalion. “I was extremely humbled there were several extraordinary First Sergeants that all did outstanding work.” Sgt. Maj. Harry Arbeitman Outstanding NCO Award: Sgt. 1st Class Frances Rutter Position: Recruiter, ChalleNGe program. “I always wanted to be a teacher," said Rutter, who considers herself more as a mentoring mom to the ChalleNGe Cadets. Sgt. 1st Class Robert G. Vuinovich Outstanding Soldier Award: Spc. Kelly Crager. Position: 119th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, HRO Sergeant. “It was a shock. It was a little humbling. I love my troops. I love what I do.”
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Volume 34 Number 2 Staff / Information
(c) 2008 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs