Elwell named 2012 Missouri Air Guard Airman of the Year

  • Published
  • By Bill Phelan
  • Special to the 131st
A Warrensburg resident and member of the 131st Bomb Wing, Senior Airman Joseph Elwell, is the 2012 Airman of the Year for the Missouri Air National Guard.

Elwell, 23, serves as an intelligence technician with the 131st Operations Group of the 131st Bomb Wing, at Whiteman Air Force Base, near Knob Noster. His duties include research and providing presentations and instruction for pilots.

"If you've ever seen a war movie where the guy stands in front of a board and gives a briefing to pilots, that's kind of what I do," Elwell explained.

And according to his boss, Lt. Col. Andrew L. Shull, senior intelligence officer for the 131st Bomb Wing, Elwell does his job very well.

"Airman Elwell definitely sets an example for others to follow," said Shull.

A Native of California and raised in Parker, Colo., Elwell is a 2008 graduate of Ponderosa High School. He also happens to be the son of a retired Missouri Air National Guard major who piloted an F-15 Eagle when the 131st was a fighter wing headquartered at Lambert-St. Louis Airport.

"My father's service played a huge role in my decision to enlist," explained Elwell. "He had attended Central Missouri State University and recommended the school to me. So I checked out the school, and since I was planning to enlist anyway I joined the Missouri Air Guard to help pay for college."

Elwell is now studying computer information systems at Central Missouri State and hopes to become an Air Guard officer.

"I like the National Guard culture," said Elwell. "In intelligence there are always problems to solve and it's always a learning experience. I really enjoy going to work and the people that I work with. They're like my second family. You build strong bonds in the National Guard."

That comes as no surprise to Shull who is looking forward to Elwell joining the officer corps.

"You can always count on Joe to have a positive attitude," Shull said. "He is always willing to take on any task with a smile on his face. He's just one of those people who you can count on to get things done. He brings energy to our section."