Team Vance announces 2016 Annual Award winners

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  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs Office

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – The outstanding Airmen of the 71st Flying Training Wing were recognized during the 2016 Annual Awards banquet Feb. 17 at the Vance Collocated Club.

Nominees for each category entered the banquet through a sword arch escorted by family or friend to cheers from their co-workers.

The guest speaker for the event was Chief Master Sgt. David Brown the 19th Air Force command chief. Brown spoke about the swagger and attitude successful Airmen have.

“I learned a long time ago, from Gen. Darren McDew, the current commander of the U.S. Transportation Command, that you can’t be great without swagger,” he said. “Not arrogance, but the confidence that you are the best at what you do. Others should want to emulate you, which in turn inspires them to be great.

“You can’t deny greatness,” said Brown, “greatness must and will be recognized.”

(To hear Chief Brown’s entire speech on a non-network device click here)

The annual awards banquet recognizes the greatness of Team Vance’s best Airmen over a 12-month period. Those Airmen will move on to compete with other Airmen from wings within 19th Air Force.

There were many special moments for the winners during the evening, but none compared to the reaction of the crowd and the surprised look of Senior Airman Danika Golightly, the 71st FTW Airman of the Year. While on stage receiving her trophy, she was notified by Col. Darrell Judy, the 71st Flying Training Wing commander, that she is the Air Force Financial Management Airman of the Year.

She received a standing ovation. (Click here on a non-network device for the video) 

The 2016 Annual Awards winners for the 71st FTW are:
Airman of the Year – Senior Airman Danica G. Golightly
NCO of the Year – Staff Sgt. Alisha M. Garrette
Senior NCO of the Year – Master Sgt. Richard A. Parks
Company Grade Officer of the Year – Capt. Carlos M. Moralejo Jr.
Civilian Cat I of the Year -- David M. Harris
Civilian Cat II of the Year -- Holly N. Peoples
Honor Guard Member of the Year – Senior Airman Chase Kelly
Instructor Pilot of the Year – 1st Lt. Mia E. Gwirtsman
Reserve Instructor Pilot of the Year – Maj. Ian A. Bass
Field Grade Officer of the Year – Maj. Megan S. Brandt
Flight Commander of the Year – Capt. Richard M. Kirwan Jr.
Innovator of the Year – Capt. Jeffrey M. Kelley
First Assignment Instructor Pilot of the Year – 1st Lt. Timothy M. Martinelli
First Sergeant of the Year – Master Sgt. Marina T. Kiefer
Key Spouse of the Year -- Jaclyn Holland
Simulator Instructor Pilot of the Year -- Khanh C. Tran
Naval Aviation Training Unit Joint Officer of the Year – Lt. Austin M. Nasca
Naval Aviation Training Unit Instructor Pilot of the Year – Lt. Michael B. Gawne