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NEWS | Dec. 6, 2016

Va. Guard Airman recognized as top in career field

By Cotton Puryear | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

A 192nd Intelligence Squadron Airman with the Virginia Air National Guard was recently announced as the winner of a gold medal in the 37th Annual Maj. Gen. Doyle E. Larson Awards ceremony Nov. 2, 2016, at 25th Air Force Headquarters, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

Tech. Sgt. Jon competed against Airmen across the 25th AF for the opportunity to win one of the top three spots in each of the 20 specialty codes within the intelligence community. (Note: for security reasons, the Airmen is only identified by his rank and first name.)

The 25th AF conducted the competition to identify the top technicians of 20 career fields critical to mission success. According to the program AFI, AFISRAI 36-2801, the best-qualified individuals in key intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and mission-enabling Air Force specialty codes or reporting identifiers are selected to compete in the AFISRA-level Maj. Gen. Larson Awards competition.

More than 8,500 of the best-qualified technical experts, from airman first class to technical sergeant in key ISR and mission-enabling jobs, tested at the unit level first. Approximately 600 then continued on to test at the Numbered Air Force level, vying for a coveted Larson Award.

NAF-level testing is comprised of 75 to 100 knowledge and experience based questions worth 200 points. Finally, each Larson finalist was awarded a gold, silver or bronze medal for showcasing their job specialty expertise.

“I competed against some real rock stars with engineering degrees and such, some with more experience than myself; jousting with people from other career fields and problem-solving was a highlight of the week,” said Jon.

To be the best of the best in the intelligence community is a high honor for Jon. To put it in perspective, he reflected on a quote from Dr. Norman Vincent Peale who wrote, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” These are words Jon lives by.

“I think it’s important to set your goals higher than your expectations,” said Jon. “It’s something I would encourage everyone to do.”

“Tech. Sgt. Jon represented the Air National Guard and our Total Force partners as the only guardsman in the nation and the only Airman from Distributed Ground Station One to be recognized,” said Lt. Col. David R. Lands, 192nd IS commander. “We are proud of his performance and hope he will continue to inspire future generations of 192nd IS Airmen. Congratulations Tech. Sgt. Jon for bringing home the gold!”

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