EADS personnel receive six CONR-AFNORTH annual awards
By Tim Jones, Eastern Air Defense Sector
/ Published March 24, 2021
Members of the Eastern Air Defense Sector (EADS) have received six annual awards from the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region (CONR) and Air Forces Northern (AFNORTH). Located at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, CONR and AFNORTH each recognize annual award winners and administer a combined CONR-AFNORTH program as well.
Four New York Air National Guardsmen and one civilian employee at EADS won outstanding annual performer awards, while EADS was named CONR-AFNORTH’s outstanding command and control (C2) unit for 2020.
“It’s a remarkable achievement to win individual awards in organizations as large as CONR and AFNORTH and I congratulate our five winners on their outstanding accomplishments,” said Col. Paul M. Bishop, EADS Commander. “I also want to congratulate everyone at EADS for the outstanding unit award. Despite the obstacles created by COVID-19, EADS conducted its around-the-clock mission defending the eastern United States without interruption. This is a direct result of the dedication and professionalism of our staff and I thank every Airman and civilian for their efforts during the past year.”
Award recipients were:
- Staff Sgt. Daritza Peguero won two Junior Enlisted Airman of the Year awards, one from AFNORTH and one from CONR. A tracking technician with the 224th Air Defense Squadron (ADS), Peguero identified 104 potential threats during 14 temporary flight restrictions and another 4,000 potential threats while working 1,500 hours at her regular position. Peguero also completed her Master Social Worker license, a time management certification and earned high marks at Airman Leadership School.
- Mr. Stephen J. Barry of the 224th Support Squadron (SPTS), received AFNORTH’s Category II Civilian of the Year award. A senior C2 systems administrator, Barry led a task verification project that re-wrote more than 1,800 procedures. He integrated 10 lesson plans and 460 instructional hours into a single training plan and helped define more than 100 core competencies and learning objectives for the squadron’s updated exercise plan.
- 1st Lt Matthew Cummings received CONR’s Company Grade Officer of the Year award. A senior director at the ADS, Cummings led a bi-national team that enforced 32 temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) for Presidential flights, defending against more than 2,000 potential threats. Under Cummings’ leadership, his crew worked 2,500 more missions in 2020 than in 2019, despite the limitations imposed by COVID-19. Cummings also controlled 20 exercises for higher headquarters, 40 training missions, and conducted two-thirds of his alert crew’s positional evaluations.
- 1st Lt Nancy L. Peterson of the 224th SPTS, was named CONR-AFNORTH Drill Status Guardsmen Officer of the Year. A traditional Air National Guard officer who serves one weekend a month, Peterson helped develop the initial training baseline for the unit’s cyber Mission Defense Team (MDT). The training program includes 200 instructional hours and became the standard for Battle Control Centers throughout NORAD. Peterson also led a team of 10 personnel that investigated mission vulnerabilities, collaborated on next generation data analytics, and served on a women’s engineering scholarship committee.
- Master Sgt. Evan J. Thorn earned the CONR-AFNORTH C2 Warrior of the Year (enlisted) award. A 224th ADS section chief, Thorn superbly directed his Airmen during 42 exercises and 33 Presidential TFRs. Thorn optimized sensor and link equipment for an additional 57 live-fly exercises, organized and supervised a $20 million advanced sensor system test, and led his section’s real-time response to more than 4,000 potential threats. An active volunteer, Thorn co-chaired EADS Annual Awards banquet and serves on the Board of Trustees at his local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post.
- Eastern Air Defense Sector was named CONR-AFNORTH C2 Unit of the Year. EADS enforced 98 Presidential TFRs, supported more than 7,800 Department of Defense flying missions in the National Capital Region, including 600 Presidential or Vice Presidential air movements, while achieving 100% mission-readiness ratings through more than 180 exercises. This was accomplished while the unit completed strenuous mission assurance efforts in response to COVID-19. EADS reorganized its operations floor, moving dozens of computers and re-routing thousands of feet of cabling in less than a month, to maximize social distancing, which ensured workforce safety and mission continuity. In addition, the unit sequestered personnel in isolated locations prior to their scheduled work shifts to minimize COVID exposure. EADS also enforced temporary flight restrictions for the Space X launches and was the only Air National Guard unit rated “highly effective” in two major areas during Unit Effectiveness Inspections in 2020.
The 224th ADG is composed of the 224th ADS and 224th SPTS, located in Rome, and Detachment 1 and Detachment 2 that serve in the Washington, D.C. area. The 224th ADG provides the forces to conduct the Eastern Air Defense Sector’s (EADS) mission. Part of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the Sector is responsible for the air defense of the eastern U.S.
For more information about the New York Air National Guard, visit www.dmna.ny.gov. For more information on the Eastern Air Defense Sector and the 224th Air Defense Group, visit www.eads.ang.af.mil.