Salutes & Awards

September 28, 2012

Wetzel award recognizes unsung heroes

Wetzel Award winners take a group photo Sept. 20, 2012, at the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The award recognizes Nellis Airmen each quarter for their exceptional efforts towards the Air Force mission and for exhibiting the highest standards of professionalism beyond their normal work load. The Wetzel Award winners are Staff Sgt. Jessica Brede, Airman 1st Class Phillip Chan, Airman 1st Class Jaquanna Reese, and Airman 1st Class Caleb Prentice were joined by Col. James Coombes, U.S. Air Force Warfare Center mobilization assistant, Bruce Quinn, the Las Vegas Rotary Club’s specialty planner, Chief Master Sgt. Robert Ellis, USAFWC command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Michael Klintworth, 57th Wing command chief and Chief Master Sgt. Vincent Marler, 99th Air Base Wing command chief.

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Five installation Airmen were recognized for their exceptional efforts in a ceremony at the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center here Sept. 20.

The Las Vegas Rotary Club presented Staff Sgt. Jessica Brede, Staff Sgt. Sergio Meneses, Airman 1st Class Phillip Chan, Airman 1st Class Jaquanna Reese, and Airman 1st Class Caleb Prentice with the Wetzel Award. The award recognizes five Nellis Airmen each quarter for their exceptional efforts towards the Air Force mission, and who exhibit the highest standards of professionalism beyond their normal work load.

Brede works as a protocol ceremonial noncommissioned officer, providing support to the USAF Warfare Center with primary responsibility in planning, organizing, and coordinating 11 ceremonies and two special event programs for one center, five wings and 52 tenant units. Brede stepped up beyond her principal duties and provided daily expertise and assistance to protocol officers for itinerary plans, arrivals, briefings and departures and was personally selected to welcome a United Arab Emirates Armed Forces Chief of Staff and the senior Undersecretary to the Department of Education during visits to Nellis.

Meneses, 6th Combat Training Squadron instructor, was the keynote speaker for a capabilities brief given to foreign general officers and dignitaries from Colombia. With no rehearsal time, he flawlessly explained the mission and vision of the Air Ground Operations School to a level of understanding that even the assigned interpreter for this group admitted was, “beyond impeccable” and, “flawless.”

Chan, 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron avionics specialist, while deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, expertly managed the aircraft battery program securing more than $700,000 worth of assets and reconditioning more than 456 components.

Reese, USAF Warfare Center knowledge operator, was the key person to the set-up of the Commanders’ Video Teleconference System, allowing meetings without the need to travel saving the Air Force $25,000 this quarter.

Prentice, 99th Civil Engineer Squadron engineering technician, oversaw a five-member mapping and drafting team. His dedication ensured seamless technical support for 19 construction and maintenance projects worth $30 million. His precise craftsmanship facilitated the production of 860 maps and drawings in 12 months.

“Quite honestly it’s an honor to be recognized through any program, especially one downtown through the Rotary Club or the Nellis Support Team,” Brede said. “Any time you get recognized, it’s a great thing for yourself and for your peers to see.”

However, Brede said you don’t need to look for an award to be able to get one.

“Really, if you follow the Air Force core values and try to do the best in everything that you do, I think that’s the best way to be recognized. “she said.

Bruce Quinn, the Las Vegas Rotary Club’s specialty planner, said the Rotary Club wants to use the Wetzel Award to showcase the achievements of the installation’s unsung heroes.

“A lot of times junior service members don’t think anybody acknowledges what they do,” he said. “People are watching and this is our way of helping to recognize them. This award recognizes the guys and girls working around ordnance or dragging fuel to aircraft. Whatever they are doing, they are doing it on a day-to-day basis and are outstanding at their jobs.”

“The award also allows us to recognize top performers because they don’t only perform their job but give back to the community,” Quinn said.

Quinn offered this advice to others:

“One thing, just keep doing the outstanding job you’re doing,” he said. “If you have an opportunity to get involved with the community and give back through volunteering that’s another thing that’s looked at.”




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