ANG honors top Airmen during Focus on the Force Week

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Air National Guard photograph by Master Sgt. Marvin R. Preston

Lt. General L. Scott Rice, director of the Air National Guard and Chief Master Sgt. Ronald C. Anderson, the command chief master sergeant of the ANG, pose for a photo with the ANG Outstanding Airmen of the Year during the Focus on the Force Week all-call. The OAY winners are Staff Sgt. Jennifer Masters, Airman of the Year; Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Jewell, Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year; Senior Master Sgt. Mark Farmer, Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year; and Senior Master Sgt. Jack Minaya, First Sergeant of the Year.

The four Air National Guard 2016 Outstanding Airmen of the Year shared their inspiring field experiences and enthusiasm with senior leadership at the Air National Guard Readiness Center at Joint Base Andrews, Md., during the Focus on the Force Week, Aug. 1-5.

Each year, the Air National Guard seeks to recognize the Airmen who best embody the Air Force core values of integrity, service and excellence. These honorees, selected from the 90 wings across the Air National Guard, are: Staff Sgt. Jennifer D. Masters, Airman of the Year, 178th Wing, Ohio ANG; Tech. Sgt. Nicholas P. Jewell, Non-commissioned Officer of the Year, 123nd Airlift Wing, Kentucky ANG; Senior Master Sgt. Mark E. Farmer, Senior Non-commissioned Officer of the Year, 125th Fighter Wing, Florida ANG; and Senior Master Sgt. Jack N. Minaya, First Sergeant of the Year, 162nd Wing, Arizona ANG.

Hosted by Chief Master Sgt. Ronald C. Anderson, command chief master sergeant for the Air National Guard, Focus on the Force Week is a week-long series of events highlighting the importance of professional development for Airmen at all levels, and celebrating the accomplishments of the enlisted corps.

“These Airmen are the very best of us,” said Anderson. “I appreciate what they’ve done, and I know they’ll do some great things for us in the future. It is absolutely all of our honor to be with them this week.”

Senior Master Sgt. Jack N. Minaya, first sergeant with the 214th Reconnaissance Squadron, Arizona Air National Guard, and the ANG Outstanding First Sergeant of the Year, gives remarks during the Focus on the Force Week’s “Outstanding Airmen of the Year Panel.” Focus on the Force Week is a series of events highlighting the importance of professional development for Airmen at all levels, and the recognition of accomplishments throughout the enlisted corps.

The honorees brought the perspective of the more than 91,000 enlisted ANG Airmen to discuss issues with senior leadership throughout the week. They met with ANG Director Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice and Anderson, as well as with the Enlisted Field Advisory Council, an advisory panel of command chiefs from across the country. The Airmen also had the opportunity to sit on a panel during the Chiefs’ Executive Course, an orientation course for newly-promoted chief master sergeants in the Guard, and field questions about their experiences.

The Airmen of the Year tell us their stories and the challenges they’re facing in their wings and states,” said Chief Master Sgt. James L. Brown, EFAC chairman. “Every issue the Airmen bring up is an important issue that doesn’t only affect them. It likely affects hundreds if not thousands of other Airmen. These young Airmen give us great confidence that the next generation of the ANG will be in fantastic hands.”

Anderson also challenged leaders to ensure that each Airman has the opportunity to succeed.

“Make sure the every person in our Air National Guard has the opportunity to be successful – whatever that looks like for them,” he said. “We owe it to these people and all the rest of our Airmen to move rocks out of their way. Every single one of us deserves the opportunity to be sitting in their chairs.”

Farmer was also selected as one of the U.S. Air Force 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year. He will be honored at the annual Air, Space and Cyber Conference scheduled for September in Washington, D.C.