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End-of-Year All Call Highlights 131st Bomb Wing's Success-Filled 2014

131st Bomb Wing Outstanding Airmen of the Year Awards were presented by the 131st BW commander at the End-of-Year All-Call during December UTA at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Dec. 7, 2014.

Pictured left to right are Chief Master Sgt. Paul Carney, 131st BW Command Chief; 1st Sgt. of the Year Master Sgt. Kirsten Inwood, 131st Medical Group; Senior NCO of the Year Master Sgt. Melissa Lakin, 131st BW Recruiting; NCO of the Year Tech. Sgt. Matt Storm, 131st MDG; Airman of the Year Staff Sgt. Brittany O'Neal, 131st BW Recruiting; Company Grade Officer of the Year 2nd Lt. Ashley Blaser, 157th Air Operations Group; and Col. Michael Francis, 131st BW commander.  Not pictured is Field Grade Officer of the Year Maj. Luke Jayne, 131st Operations Group.

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Halley Burgess)

131st Bomb Wing Outstanding Airmen of the Year Awards were presented by the 131st BW commander at the End-of-Year All-Call during December UTA at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Dec. 7, 2014. Pictured left to right are Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Paul Carney; First Sgt. of the Year Master Sgt. Kirsten Inwood, 131st Medical Group; Senior NCO of the Year Master Sgt. Melissa Lakin, 131st BW staff; NCO of the Year Tech. Sgt. Matt Storm, 131st MDG; Airman of the Year Staff Sgt. Brittany O'Neal, 131st BW staff; Company Grade Officer of the Year 2nd Lt. Ashley Blaser, 157th Air Operations Group; and 131st BW Commander Col. Michael Francis. Not pictured is Field Grade Officer of the Year Maj. Luke Jayne, 131st Operations Group. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Halley Burgess)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- The 131st Bomb Wing commander gathered the wing together Sunday to highlight significant events, honor outstanding Airmen and wrap up a tremendous 2014.

Col. Michael Francis began by looking back at the year's successes, starting with the Nuclear Surety Inspection in January. He referred to total force integration milestone as "the beginning of the year, but the end of a long journey for the wing," as it marked the attainment of full operational capability for the wing in its strategic nuclear deterrence mission with the active duty 509th Bomb Wing.

This year was one filled with numerous awards and accomplishments, including the Omaha Trophy, as well as the Fairchild Trophy, which was earned during the Global Strike Challenge competition. Global Strike is the world's premier bomber, intercontinental ballistic missile and security forces competition, and Whiteman's total force team defended the title for the third time in four years.

The 131st also received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, a Verne Orr award nomination and the Air Force Association's Jimmy Doolittle award for being the No. 1 Air National Guard wing in the category of power projection.

Francis acknowledged that awards are nice to receive, but stated "all they do is validate that you are who I think you are. You are truly amazing.

"I'm truly happy we've had a fantastic year and I'm really proud of you," Francis added.

The hard work and accomplishments of the 131st garnered the attention of a few high-profile visitors this year, including Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody in March and Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James in May.

Francis also recognized 131st BW Outstanding Airmen of the Year winners during his address, including:

· Airman:  Staff Sgt. Brittany O'Neal, 131st Bomb Wing staff
· Noncommissioned Officer:  Tech Sgt. Matt Storm, 131st Medical Group
· Senior Noncommissioned Officer: Master Sgt. Melissa Lakin, 131st BW staff
· First Sergeant:  Master Sgt. Kirsten Inwood, 131st MDG
· Company Grade Officer: 2nd Lt. Ashley Blaser, 157th Air Operations Group
· Field Grade Officer: Maj. Luke Jayne, 131st Operations Group

Francis also took time to address the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, and highlighted the involvement of the131st in state emergency duty in response. 

Francis summed up the year by attesting that 2013 was a great year, and stating that 2014 was even better.

"We continue to improve, we continue to innovate, we continue to make the process better, within our wing and outside of our wing," Francis said.  "Whether it is the B-2 mission or the Air Force mission, I think we are making an impact."

As he closed, Francis encouraged the wing's Airmen to have a safe, well-deserved holiday season, and to watch out for each other.

"Please don't forget the Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines that are still deployed for the holiday season," Francis said.  "Enjoy your friends and family, recharge your batteries and come back for an even better 2015."