Salutes & Awards

May 4, 2012

Luke EOD member receives prestigious award

Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann
56th Fighter Wing/ Public Affairs
Pg-4-Newton-Article-photo-jump
Staff Sgt. Michael Newton, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal team leader, works with his Air Force medium sized robot here Apr. 30. Newton was named the National Defense Industrial Association Outstanding United States Air Force EOD NCO of 2011.

The National Defense Industrial Association recognized one of Luke’s explosive ordnance disposal members for his contributions toward robotic systems at the Ground Robotics Conference in San Diego.

Staff Sgt. Michael Newton, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD team leader, was awarded the NDIA Outstanding United States Air Force EOD NCO of the Year.

Each year the NDIA recognizes one service’s EOD technicians who contributed the most to advancing robotics. Air Force members only receive this award once every four years.

Newton was recommended by Headquarters Air Combat Command, Explosive Ordnance Disposal branch, for his work with the Air Force medium sized robot, formally known as the HD-1.

“Newton provided input to the manufacturer on ways to improve the MSR from an operator’s perspective,” said Lt. Col. Chad BonDurant, 56th CES commander. “Additionally, he was one of a select few personnel to be deployed forward with the MSR to Iraq and used the robot in a combat environment.”

Being only one of a handful of operators who used the platform in a combat zone, he was chosen to be part of a research and development team to make improvements.

“The MSR is the newest generation of base support robots and I’m very proud to look at specific parts and be able to say that, was my idea,” Newton said. “Isn’t it every boy’s dream to blow stuff up for a living?”

Robotic systems have saved numerous lives by helping to wipe away the threat of explosive devices encountered throughout combat operations.

“Robots save my EOD brothers’ and sisters lives,” Newton said. “ I was given a unique opportunity to better the program, and I like to think anyone would have done the same.”

Newton is a dedicated NCO that emulates the Air Force core values, according to BonDurant. “He puts the mission first, and his Airmen are always his number one priority.”




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