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Missouri Air National Guardsman receives prestigious safety award

Senior Master Sgt. James Sutton stands with the 131st Bomb Wing’s primary weapon system, the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. The Air National Guard Safety Center recently selected Sutton for the prestigious 2015 Air National Guard Individual Weapons Safety Award.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Mary-Dale Amison

Senior Master Sgt. James Sutton stands with the 131st Bomb Wing’s primary weapon system, the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. The Air National Guard Safety Center recently selected Sutton for the prestigious 2015 Air National Guard Individual Weapons Safety Award. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Mary-Dale Amison

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- The Air National Guard Safety Center recently selected Senior Master Sgt. James Sutton, weapons safety manager for the 131st Bomb Wing, for the prestigious 2015 Air National Guard Individual Weapons Safety Award.

The annual award recognizes Sutton's contributions to Air National Guard safety and in the Total Force environment with active duty partners the 509th Bomb Wing.  Competition is fierce across the ANG wings to attain top safety honors.  The Air National Guard Individual Weapons Safety Award is one of seven annual ANG safety awards. This is a first for Sutton and the 131st Bomb Wing.

"It's an honor to represent the Air National Guard in this capacity.  Weapons safety is definitely my niche."  Sutton said.  "Being able to identify and resolve a diverse array of issues with such significant impact to the mission is beyond rewarding.  The amazing TFI safety program we have here at Whiteman allows me to do just that." 

It has been a busy past year for Sutton leading up to this award.  Sutton, a member of the total force weapons safety team during the Global Strike Challenge, was pivotal to the combined 131st and 509th Bomb Wings winning the 2015 Fairchild trophy recognizing the best bomb wings in the Air Force.  Additionally, as an investigative officer, he resolved all of the wing's certification issues, which drove Whiteman's program to be selected as Air Force Global Strike Command 2015 Exceptional Weapons Safety Program.  

His list of outstanding accomplishments continued when he led the wing safety section to receive an "outstanding" in the grueling 2015 Nuclear Surety Inspection.  In this event, the inspector general noted Sutton's training, spot inspections and reports as "flawless."  Finally, Sutton's keen inspection and mishap prevention oversight allowed the 131st and 509th safety program offices to be named the 8th Air Force program of the year.

"This award represents the hard work of an outstanding Citizen-Airman who goes above and beyond," said Lt. Col. Mark Rodemoyer, 131st BW's chief of safety. "Senior Master Sgt. Sutton is the driving force behind the Whiteman weapons safety program and takes great pride in what he does to support the Total Force B-2 mission.  He is one of a great team of professionals here who live and breathe safety." 

Sutton has been with the 131st BW his entire 21-year career.  Having transitioned from F-15 Eagle fighters to B-2 Spirit bombers as a weapons systems maintenance technician in 2009, he was selected for his current weapons safety position in 2013.