131 LRS recognizes annual winners during winter awards ceremony

  • Published
  • 131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs

The 131st Logistics Readiness Squadron met in Jefferson City, Missouri, to recognize Airmen within the squadron for their accomplishments over the last year.

More than 90 Airmen stationed at LRS units across the state, and their family members took part in the event that merged the squadron’s award ceremony with numerous Air Force traditions, including a prisoner-of-war and missing in action recognition ceremony, and a cake cutting with a saber.

“Taking part in numerous Air Force traditions during our formal awards ceremony was empowering,” said Staff Sgt. Calista Gasek, 131 LRS logistics planner. “The holiday party was a heartwarming event full of camaraderie, especially seeing Airmen making memories with their families and making new connections in a relaxed environment.”

The squadron recognized the following award winners:

•         Senior Airman Eliza Cameron, logistics plans journeyman, Second-Half Semi-Annual Airman of the Year

•         Technical Sgt. Tiffany Decker, supply craftsman, Second-Half Semi-Annual NCO of the Year

•         Master Sgt. Eric Graslie, fuels flight chief, Second-Half Semi-Annual SNCO of the Year

•         Airman 1st Class David Rodriguez, vehicle maintenance journeyman, 131 LRS Rookie of the Year

•         Technical Sgt. Marita Grant, traffic management craftsman, 131 LRS Comeback Airman of the Year

•         131st Fuels Flight, 131 LRS Team of the Year

•         Staff Sgt. Calista Gasek, logistics plans journeyman, 131 LRS Airman of the Year

•         Technical Sgt. Terry Bickers, 131 LRS quality assurance craftsman, 131 LRS NCO of the Year

•         Master Sgt. Cody Drummond, logistics plans superintendent, 131 LRS Senior NCO of the Year

•         Capt. Conrad Marin, installation deployment officer, 131 LRS Company Grade Officer of the Year

In addition to squadron-level awards, Gasek and Marin were also selected as 131st Mission Support Group winners and advanced to compete at the wing level.

The event team incorporated many Air Force traditions and customs, opening the ceremony with the presentation of the colors by the 509th Bomb Wing Honor Guard and subsequent recognition with a POW/MIA table. Former wing chaplain, retired Lt. Col. Scott Doby served as the keynote speaker, giving his perspective on leadership and productivity. The two distinguished guests of the evening were Chief Master Sgt. Jason Henke, the 131st Bomb Wing command chief master sergeant, and Chief Master Sgt. Billy McGurgan, 131st Mission Support Group senior enlisted leader.

The ceremony concluded with a traditional cake cutting that included Henke, as the event’s most distinguished guest, along with Master Sgt. Brian Bilbruck as the squadron’s oldest service member, and Airman Basic Lukas Davis as the squadron’s youngest service member.

“The whole scene gave off an atmosphere of admiration and honor,” said Bickers. “The speeches delivered by distinguished officers highlighted the dedication and sacrifices of those in the Air National Guard, evoking a deep sense of patriotism and wisdom.”

Bickers added that he appreciated the time spent together but also the recognition of the 2023 achievements, “symbolizing not just a celebration of achievements but also a collective commitment to the principles and values upheld by the Air Force community,” he said.

The following day, squadron members stationed at both Whiteman Air Force Base and Jefferson Barracks Air National Guard Base in St. Louis, took a rare opportunity to train together as a unit. Airmen began Ready Airman Training, the Air Force’s new deployment training cycle requirements. Airmen received training on beating burnout and Comprehensive Airman Fitness. They also learned cross-cultural communications and opportunities with the Missouri National Guard partnership with Panama, through the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program. Other topics discussed included operational security, active threat response procedures, and online safety.