Seven NY Air National Guardsmen receive medals

  • Published
  • By Tim Jones
  • Eastern Air Defense Sector

The 224th Air Defense Group (ADG) at the Eastern Air Defense Sector recently recognized seven New York Air National Guardsmen for outstanding performance. The Airmen were:

  • Lt. Col. Rex Vernales, Meritorious Service Medal. A member of the 224th Support Squadron (SPTS), Vernales successfully led a remote cyber survey of all North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) battle control centers. Other accomplishments included integrating new technologies and sensors into EADS battle control system and leading a first-of-its-kind mobile radar integration project with the Canadian air defense forces.
  • Lt. Col. Matthew Perala, Meritorious Service Medal. A traditional, part-time Guardsman, Perala leveraged his civilian job skills to update interagency checklists and create cooperative agreements with outside agencies, bolstering EADS cyberspace defense. Perala also demonstrated outstanding leadership of 20 Airmen during a national NORAD exercise.
  • Master Sgt. Sean Redden, Meritorious Service Medal. Redden deployed to Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait for seven months, where he led a security detachment of 60 Airmen, Marines and civilians, protecting $2 billion in assets and supporting 2,400 air sorties as part of Operation Inherent Resolve.
  • Capt. Nancy Peterson, Air Force Commendation Medal. A traditional, part-time Airman, Peterson spearheaded the mission analysis for EADS Cyber Mission Defense team (MDT) and helped develop a 365-hour training plan. Peterson also led a radar issue investigation that improved network security for EADS and its federal partners.
  • Tech. Sgt. Ryan Watson, Air Force Commendation Medal. A Cyberspace Operations Craftsman at the 224th SPTS, Watson engineered a virtual network that linked EADS with the U.S. Secret Service during 78 Presidential flights. He also served as part of a risk management team, validating nearly 1,000 controls and milestones for a new NORAD network, and wrote a disaster recovery instruction.
  • Staff Sgt. Chris Dorion, Syracuse, Air Force Commendation Medal. Dorion successfully managed 35 security clearance re-investigations and processed more than 250 visit requests, maintaining the unit’s operational security. He also coordinated support agreements with six separate contractors and updated the facility’s biometric identification system, improving physical security.
  • Senior Airman Mathew Cole, Air Force Humanitarian Medal. A Security Forces Airman in the 224th SPTS, Cole deployed to the Javits Center in New York City, where he provided essential support for a New York State COVID-19 vaccination center.

The 224th ADG is composed of the 224th Air Defense Squadron 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 For more information on the Eastern Air Defense Sector and the 224th Air Defense Group, visit