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120th Fighter Wing recognizes award winners

120th Security Forces Senior Airman Merrill Jessop holds his 2014 Montana Air National Guard Airman of the Year plaque during the 120th Fighter Wing awards ceremony held during the January unit training assembly. 120th Fighter Wing Commander Col. J. Peter Hronek, 120th Fighter Wing Vice Commander Col. Donna Loomis, and 120th Fighter Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Huffman look on. National Guard photo/Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson.

120th Security Forces Senior Airman Merrill Jessop holds his 2014 Montana Air National Guard Airman of the Year plaque during the 120th Fighter Wing awards ceremony held during the January unit training assembly. 120th Fighter Wing Commander Col. J. Peter Hronek, 120th Fighter Wing Vice Commander Col. Donna Loomis, and 120th Fighter Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Huffman look on. National Guard photo/Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson.

120th Fighter Wing Commander Col. J. Peter Hronek addresses unit members and their families during the wing awards ceremony held during the January unit training assembly. National Guard photo/Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson

120th Fighter Wing Commander Col. J. Peter Hronek addresses unit members and their families during the wing awards ceremony held during the January unit training assembly. National Guard photo/Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson

GREAT FALLS, Mont. -- 120th Fighter Wing Airmen gathered together in Building 67 on Saturday of the January unit training assembly to recognize the 2014 Outstanding Airmen of the Year, individuals who received medals and recent retirees during the annual wing awards ceremony.

In the enlisted categories of the Airmen of the Year competition, members of the 120th Security Forces Squadron garnered all four unit awards then progressed in competition to win the 2014 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for the entire Montana Air National Guard.

Representing the 120th SFS as the MTANG Airmen of the Year were Senior Airman Merrill L. Jessop winning the Airman of the Year category; Staff Sgt. Peter M. Fleek, NCO of the Year; Master Sgt. Edward J. Mclean, Senior NCO of the Year; and Master Sgt. Edward T. McNamee was named the winner of the 1st Sergeant category.

120th Civil Engineering Squadron Base Deputy Engineer Capt. Kenneth F. Fechter was named Junior Officer of the Year for 2014.

The medals presented during the ceremony included a Bronze Star Medal, a Defense Meritorious Service Medal, four United States Air Force Combat Action Medals, 34 United States Air Force Meritorious Service Medals, 32 United States Air Force Commendation Medals and 46 United States Air Force Achievement Medals.

The wing recognized four United States Air Force Basic Military Training honor graduates, 16 technical training distinguished graduates, and 20 Airmen who had graduated from professional military education courses during the past year.
Thirty-five unit members were recognized during the ceremony for having completed the requirements needed to be awarded the Community College of the Air Force associates degree.

The program also honored those unit members who completed distinguished careers with the Montana Air National Guard. Twenty-four unit members were recognized during the ceremony for having retired in 2013.

120th Fighter Wing Commander Col. J. Peter Hronek, congratulated the unit members for their accomplishments in 2013. During the year unit members and aircraft deployed to Alaska to serve an alert mission, performed admirably during the wing combined unit inspection held in February and prepared for an aircraft conversion from the F-15 Eagle to the C-130 Hercules.

"I know what a great group of Airmen we are," said Col. Hronek. We're over 100 percent strong in the wing and we've done great things. I am so impressed and so proud of the accomplishments of the wing and for those that are recognized today."

The annual event was moved to the wing's cold storage building this year due to ongoing construction in the Main Hangar as the unit prepares for the arrival of the unit's new C-130 aircraft and airlift mission.
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