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Security Forces member receives Commandant Award

A very sleepy Tech. Sgt. Donald Dowl, 131st Security Forces Squadron midnight shift superintendent, poses with the Commandant Award after driving all night to make it back to Lambert for drill. Sergeant Dowl received the award during his Non-Commissioned Officer Academy graduation at Keesler Air Force Base Sept. 10. (Photo by Master Sgt. Mary-Dale Amison)

A very sleepy Tech. Sgt. Donald Dowl Sr, 131st Security Forces Squadron midnight shift supervisor, poses with the Commandant Award after driving all night to make it back to Lambert for drill. Sergeant Dowl received the award during his Non-Commissioned Officer Academy graduation at Keesler Air Force Base Sept. 10. (Photo by Master Sgt. Mary-Dale Amison)

Lambert IAP -- Tech. Sgt. Donald Dowl Sr., 131st Security Forces Squadron midnight shift supervisor, received the Commandant Award Sept. 10 during the Non-Commissioned Officer Academy class 09-6 graduation at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi.

Each graduating class is separated into flights of about 12 to 13 students and each flight chooses one student they think has shown the leadership qualities needed to receive the award. Then, each of the chosen students meets in front of a three person panel and are narrowed down to three. The remaining students meet personally with the commandant of the academy and the awardee is then chosen, explained Chief Master Sgt. Lawrence Kirby, Keesler AFB NCO Academy commandant.

Sergeant Dowl said, he was excited that his class thought he demonstrated the qualities and traits of a leader in class, as well as during volunteer activities, while attending the academy.

"I told the commandant, even if I'm not selected [to receive the award] I feel like I'm a winner because my class selected me as their leader," added Sergeant Dowl.

Sergeant Dowl explained, he was chosen to receive the Commandant Award out of a class of 115 students and was presented with the award during the academy graduation ceremony.

"This award has been around for as long as there has been commandants running the schools. It is one of the oldest awards out there," said Chief Kirby.

"I know it's a big honor for a Guardsman to receive it, but I run a total force academy and we don't look at what service component the member is in before they are chosen," said Chief Kirby. "I was looking for the best, well-rounded individual and Tech. Sgt. Dowl was it."