2021 Commander’s Leadership Awards
This award recognizes AFSOC’s outstanding performers from any AFSC/career field who have made the most significant contributions to mission accomplishment as determined by their respective commanders. Their outstanding accomplishments make them truly deserving of this prestigious recognition. The inductees are chosen by their respective commanders not the ACA.
First Lieutenant Brittany K. Brown distinguished herself as Officer in Charge, Fitness and Sports, 1st Special Operations Force Support Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida, from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021. During this period, Lieutenant Brown led 135 Airman and a 27-million-dollar sustainment operation during the Coronavirus pandemic, providing critical sustenance to mission essential Airman across four wings and 40 tenant units. Additionally, she was the lead for Air Combat Command and Hurlburt Field’s first ever Agile Flag experiments, where she provided agile combat support through sustainment and beddown for 376 deployers, enabling testing for bare base rapid deployment capabilities of three multi-capable Airmen teams and four aircraft weapons systems validations, reducing the overall acclimation time for deploying members. Furthermore, Lieutenant Brown was critical to organizing Hurlburt Field’s first pre-deployment quarantine operation, where she directed restriction of movement lodging and fitness support for 331 combat-ready deployers, enabling the continuation of four special operations missions across three combatant commands. Finally, she collaborated with the Human Performance Lab in a body mass index analysis for Air Force Special Operations Command. The results were presented to Headquarters Air Force Manpower, Personnel and Services, contributing to removal of the waist measurement requirement across the Air Force. Her leadership directly contributed to Air Force Special Operations Command’s recognition as the Air Force Sustainment Flight of the Year award win in 2020. The distinctive accomplishments of Lieutenant Brown reflect credit upon herself and the United States Air Force.
Captain Jonathan C. Edwards distinguished himself as Aircraft Maintenance Unit Officer In-Charge, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021. Captain Edwards expertly led 197 talented CV-22 Osprey maintainers conducting field-level maintenance, sortie generation, and sustainment for a fleet of 13 special operations tiltrotor aircraft valued at 1.4 billion dollars. He validated the CV-22’s agile combat employment capability through an operational readiness evaluation where he sustained three aircraft in an austere location with a 75 percent reduction in the logistics footprint demonstrating his team’s ability to operate in a contested environment. His efforts showcased the relevance of CV-22 operations in support of the United States Special Operations Command’s pivot to accelerate change in addressing great power competition between near-peer competitors. Additionally, Captain Edwards deployed to Afghanistan as the 20th Expeditionary Special Operations Squadron’s maintenance officer-in-charge where he generated 178 sorties and produced 161 combat hours utilizing four CV-22s to transport 227 passengers, 100 special operations forces, and 37,000 pounds of cargo while overseeing 38 airlift missions supporting the Presidential directed retrograde in Afghanistan. For his actions, Captain Edwards was recognized as the 27th Special Operations Maintenance Group’s 2020 Maintenance Professional of the Year and was the 2020 Leo Marquez recipient for excellence in leadership. The distinctive accomplishments of Captain Edwards reflect credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Staff Sergeant James R. Evans distinguished himself as Electrical and Environmental Craftsman, 58th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021. During this period, Sergeant Evans was hand-selected to fill the role of Flightline Expediter during a critical manning shortfall. In his capacity as a Flightline Expediter, he used his expertise to manage maintenance actions across six Air Force Specialty Codes, which enabled the generation of 141 sorties, 2,700 flight hours, and led to 293 special operations aircrew graduates. Additionally, Sergeant Evans took decisive action as the subject matter expert to diagnose and repair a malfunctioning bleed air valve and preserve a critical timeline for an isochronal inspection, which resulted in an aircraft’s timely return to the flying schedule. While repairing the valve, he trained and certified four members from the squadron to alleviate an experience shortfall. Finally, Sergeant Evans was selected as the lead technician for a five-member emergency maintenance response team tasked with repairing a severely damaged aerial refueling pod on an MC-130J. His incisive troubleshooting and leadership enabled him to quickly identify the faulty mounting hardware, determine the cause of the failure, and develop an executable plan to return the aircraft to a flyable condition. His actions, during a crucial repair, prompted an Air Force-wide C-130J one time inspection and safety time compliance technical order leading to the resolution of the mounting hardware deficiency across the C-130J fleet. The distinctive accomplishments of Sergeant Evans reflect credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Captain Riley A. Feeney distinguished himself as the AC-130J Program Manager and an AC-130J Instructor Pilot, 492d Special Operations Training Support Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida, from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021. During this period, Captain Feeney led an AC-130J crew to aid in the rescue of an American citizen by providing on-call close air support for a Secretary of Defense directed alert mission. Additionally, as a Flight Commander, he expertly managed all readiness and training requirements for 53 combat aircrew members ensuring his unit was postured to meet 100 percent of its worldwide deployment commitments. Furthermore, Captain Feeney established and implemented a “Feed the Flights” initiative resulting in the delivery of 65 meals to isolated personnel during the Coronavirus pandemic. For his efforts, Captain Feeney was recognized as the 1st Special Operations Group Flight Commander of the Year. As the AC-130J Program Manager, he updated and revamped 11 syllabi of instruction, over 1,700 training tasks and 37 training events in order to streamline initial qualification training which led to an immediate two-week reduction in training timelines. Finally, Captain Feeney’s talents were critical in executing the first-ever AC-130J formal course review and the subsequent efforts to reengineer the AC-130J formal training program and rewrite all of its 18 syllabi of instruction in order to align with Air Force Special Operations Command strategic guidance. The distinctive accomplishments of Captain Feeney reflect credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Technical Sergeant Andrew T. Flynn distinguished himself as a Special Operations Weather Forecaster at Operating Location Alpha, Detachment 1, 23d Special Operations Weather Squadron, Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021. During this period, Sergeant Flynn deployed in support of Operation FREEDOM SENTINEL with a joint task force for two-months as the sole weather forecaster, where he produced 854 mission weather products for 1,400 flight hours, ensuring the safety of nine Army Special Operations Aviation Command helicopters and 201 personnel. While deployed, Sergeant Flynn simultaneously filled two, three-man unit type codes, effectively performing the duties of six personnel during the final phase of the Afghanistan retrograde. Once all other weather personnel and equipment redeployed from the deployed location, Sergeant Flynn assumed airfield weather support responsibility, installed a tactical advanced micro weather sensor, and began transmitting hourly meteorological observations to Air Mobility Command and United States Special Operations Command assets. Additionally, Sergeant Flynn provided critical environmental intelligence, which enabled commanders to synchronize the base defense plan for President-directed retrograde operations. Furthermore, as his unit’s lead trainer, Sergeant Flynn was selected by the 1st Special Operations Wing to attend the Joint Fundamentals Course where he earned Honor Graduate recognition. He used this baseline of joint knowledge to lead four Air National Guard and Active Duty personnel through an intensive two-week combat mission training event covering 84 Army special operations support requirements, which resulted in fully qualified personnel capable of deploying four weeks faster than standard. The distinctive accomplishments of Sergeant Flynn reflect credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
First Lieutenant Ryan M. Laube distinguished himself as Deputy Commander, Communications Flight, 352d Special Operations Support Squadron, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, United Kingdom, from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021. During this period, Lieutenant Laube led 19 Special Operations Command – Africa personnel during a 52-day Presidential-directed theater force relocation. As the deployment’s senior communicator, he fused command, control, communication, and computer capabilities with the joint task force, resulting in the execution of 141 sorties, the offload of 110,000 pounds of fuel, 31-days of alert, and the firing of 1,000 rounds of ammunition from AC-130 aircraft. Additionally, Lieutenant Laube steered electrical services and facilitated the stand-up of an alternate support site for the President of the United States’ first-ever overseas visit and worldwide-televised speech. He also led the wing’s participation in a bilateral communications exercise, teaming with the Special Operations Command Europe and British Armed Forces in their first contested cyber event in more than two years. Moreover, Lieutenant Laube led the preparation for a rapid contingency deployment, delivering command and control capabilities and 4,200 pounds of cargo, where he ensured the successful execution of a Presidential-ordered mission that resulted in saving the life of an American citizen. Finally, Lieutenant Laube’s efforts were validated by his selection as the wing’s 2020 Network Operations Officer of the Year and his team’s selection as the Wing’s Team of the First Quarter of 2021. The distinctive accomplishment of Lieutenant Laube reflect credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Technical Sergeant Robert T. LeMay distinguished himself as the MC-130J Wing Planner, 352d Special Operations Wing, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, United Kingdom, from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021. During this period, Sergeant LeMay exhibited exceptional leadership while serving as the senior enlisted leader for two large force exercises, overseeing 58 deployed personnel and executing 68 sorties across six countries. Sergeant LeMay’s efforts enabled strategic theater messaging to North American Trade Organization allies in the European Theater while simultaneously meeting the top priorities of the combatant commander by countering malign activity. Furthermore, Sergeant LeMay led a site survey team to the Balkan region, certifying multiple drop zones and ensuring the availability of a critical staging area for future operations. Additionally, Sergeant LeMay led a 10-month, partner nation forward area refueling point training program, establishing an austere refueling capability and critical access to the strategically important high north Arctic Region. Moreover, while serving as an Operations Flight Chief, Sergeant Lemay executed a squadron reorganization initiative, enabling predictable deployment windows aligning with Headquarters, Air Force Special Operation Command’s guidance. Finally, while under presidential direction, Sergeant LeMay served as the lead loadmaster on the longest-range hostage rescue in United States history, flying 2,100 miles while offloading 59,000 pounds of fuel, ultimately resulting in the successful recovery of an American citizen. The distinctive accomplishments of Sergeant LeMay reflect credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Major Michael J. Lintz distinguished himself as the Senior Intelligence Officer, at his unit from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021. During this period, Major Lintz’s unparalleled leadership and knowledge were vital to the successful command and control of over 2,000 sorties supporting Secretary of Defense directed missions, combat operations, and joint exercises. He filled a two-month leadership gap as the acting Director of Operations for his unit leading 112 personnel operating onboard a 755-million-dollar Special Operations Command Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance aircraft fleet. Furthermore, under his leadership, special operations forces conducted missions across five geographic combatant commands. His dedicated efforts directly aligned his unit with National Defense Strategy objectives sustaining joint force military advantages, both globally and in key regions. Additionally, Major Lintz authored a liaison officer roadmap fostering interoperability with Army, Navy, and Intelligence Community partners paving the way for the creation of three new liaison positions. He pioneered three new developmental opportunities gaining access to over 80-hours of instruction focused on strategic communication. Finally, Major Lintz led a 10-member team in the creation of a unique intelligence product fusing 35 reports from across the intelligence community informing a sub-unified command’s global response plan and garnering interest from the United States Special Operations Command and Joint Chiefs of Staff level. The distinctive accomplishments of Major Lintz reflect credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
First Lieutenant Erik A. Lolland distinguished himself as Chief of Intelligence Training, 720th Operations Support Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida, from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021. During this period, Lieutenant Lolland expertly managed a 12-person flight during three mission qualification training courses totaling 630 instruction hours which increased the group’s combat readiness by 16 percent. Under his leadership, the training course generated a 40 percent increase in attendance from units external to the special tactics community. Additionally, Lieutenant Lolland led the group’s Defense Strategic Debriefing program by guiding five geographically separated units and becoming the driving factor for a 20 percent growth of Air Force Special Operations Command’s reporting to the intelligence community. Furthermore, Lieutenant Lolland deployed as Officer in Charge of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance to Joint Special Operations Air Component Africa where he controlled a 353-million-dollar air intelligence package responsible for 13,000 collection hours which facilitated more than 2,000 counter-violent extremist organization missions. Finally, he spearheaded the air intelligence coordination responsible for the search and discovery of a downed remotely piloted aircraft, as well as the successful targeting of over 400 kidnap-for-ransom objectives, and the recovery of an American citizen. Due to his skillful management of air assets and cooperation with multiple agencies, the American citizen was located and recovered within 72 hours of capture. The distinctive accomplishments of Lieutenant Lolland reflect credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Technical Sergeant Adam C. Long distinguished himself as Tactical Air Control Party Craftsman, 720th Operations Support Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida, from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021. During this period, Sergeant Long served as Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of Joint Terminal Attack Controller operations and training for the 720th Special Tactics Group. Sergeant Long oversaw training and upgrades for a 450-day Air Force Special Operations Force Generation cycle and enabled resourcing decisions for a two-million-dollar training budget. Additionally, he drove 304 ground and close air support events, 1,389 close air support controls, 316 ground and aircrew readied for a 180-day deployment cycle and managed the group’s Joint Terminal Attack Controller program for six squadrons in support of five geographic combatant commands and Theater special operations commands. Furthermore, Sergeant Long was the lead inspector on four group-level functional visits where he scrutinized 240 records to validate the Joint Terminal Attack Controller training program for five deployable squadrons. Sergeant Long debriefed 148 personnel from three theaters to refine the 24th Special Operations Wing’s 75-million-dollar actual expense authorization for 160 wartime solutions. Finally, Sergeant Long stood out among his peers during professional military education where he oversaw seven weeks of squadron drills, inspections, and over 100 hours of community service, earning Distinguished Graduate honors at the Noncommissioned Officer Academy. The distinctive accomplishments of Sergeant Long reflect credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Captain Zachary R. Maginnis distinguished himself as Pilot Resource Manager, 1st Special Operations Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan, from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021. During this period, Captain Maginnis’ outstanding leadership was pivotal in the synchronization of national level assets and a theater directed operation to counter a near peer threat and ensure freedom of navigation throughout the Indo-Pacific Area of Responsibility. Additionally, he was selected to lead the air campaign at an Indo-Pacific Command large Joint Chiefs of Staff directed exercise, meeting National Defense Strategy objectives, and strengthening ties with partner forces. Furthermore, Captain Maginnis led a squadron training program, authoring an examination, and managing 61 flight upgrade folders, ensuring the squadron’s aircrew are combat mission ready. His attention to detail led to the discovery of an MC-130J system deficiency. Captain Maginnis then liaised with other units across the globe to identify and implement an operations security resolution across Air Force Special Operations Command. Captain Maginnis showed adept leadership by sponsoring new squadron members and their families acting as their sole link to the outside world to ensure they had housing, food, and essentials while conducting two weeks of isolation during a global pandemic. Finally, he was selected as the Pilot Resource Manager for the squadron where he scheduled 375 sorties, guaranteeing continued integrated combat mission training despite the Coronavirus pandemic. The distinctive accomplishments of Captain Maginnis reflect credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Technical Sergeant Arthur W. Mapp distinguished himself as an Enlisted Executive Officer, 27th Special Operations Group, Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021. During mission qualification training, Sergeant Mapp was selected as the class leader, mentoring eight officers and six airmen, ensuring a 100 percent graduation rate. During his deployment, Sergeant Mapp was the Flight Chief of 54 personnel where his team flew over 1,500 combat hours, striking 16 high-value enemy targets. For their outstanding contribution during deployment for the development of aerospace power and for the betterment of mankind, Sergeant Mapp and the members of the 3rd Special Operations Squadron received the Citation of Honor award. After returning from deployment, Sergeant Mapp was hand-selected for the group Enlisted Executive Officer position, where he led a nine-member executive team. He led the personnel actions for 13 squadrons, 38 Air Force specialty codes, and 1,400 personnel. His dedication to excellence culminated in his recognition as the 3rd Special Operations Squadron Non-Commission Officer of the Year and the group’s Tuskegee’s Airmen and Senior Master Sergeant Barbour Award winner. The distinctive accomplishments of Sergeant Mapp reflect credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Technical Sergeant Jeremy D. Morlock distinguished himself as Squadron Intelligence Department Noncommissioned Officer in Charge, 353d Special Operations Support Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan, from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021. During this period, Sergeant Morlock identified 12 erroneous threat assessments from a national level intelligence agency. The rectification of this data altered the personnel recovery alert posture criteria for Indo-Pacific Command, decreasing the number of alert periods by 80 percent, and reducing strain on the force by saving 2,000 man hours annually. Additionally, Sergeant Morlock sifted through two decades of data from six intelligence agencies. Aligning it with current trends, he identified a critical area of interest of a top National Defense Strategy adversary. After up channeling his findings, the Secretary of Defense and Commander, Indo-Pacific Command, created three new missions based on his discovery. Furthermore, Sergeant Morlock led the 353d Special Operations Group’s Joint Intelligence Support Team through six Secretary of Defense directed missions. During which, Sergeant Morlock provided live threat recognition and awareness to ten aircrews and revealed 45 new adversary tactics. Finally, Sergeant Morlock masterfully led his section during a four-month absence of the officer in-charge. He displayed phenomenal leadership skills mentoring 43 airmen, resulting in the section garnering one annual award, five quarterly awards, and four promotion stratifications. The distinctive accomplishments of Sergeant Morlock reflect credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Captain Jason M. Morris distinguished himself as a C-146A Instructor Pilot, 859th Special Operations Squadron, Duke Field, Florida, from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021. Captain Morris deployed as Director of Operations, 524th Expeditionary Special Operations Squadron in support of Special Operations Command Central. Captain Morris supported 29 Special Operations Forces units by supervising 429 air mobility combat missions, delivering 511 joint special operations personnel and 112,000 pounds of cargo across the Department of Defense’s most active area of responsibility. While serving at Headquarters, Air Force Special Operations Command, Captain Morris authored the command’s newest “Reset the Force” deployment model, changing the way Airmen and assets are employed to counter future threats. He also saved 2.4 million dollars by identifying an error in the command’s flying hour program. This correction created a six percent increase in flight hours across all the command’s squadrons. Captain Morris also deployed in support of Special Operations Command South, and spearheaded 7th Special Forces Group’s new theater evacuation plan, ensuring theater-wide access and freedom of movement while reducing risk to force. The distinctive accomplishments of Captain Morris reflect credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Technical Sergeant Keith A. Proze, Jr., distinguished himself as an MQ-9 Sensor Operator Scheduler, 2d Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida, from 1 June 2020 through 31 May 2021. During this time, Sergeant Proze scheduled six aircraft ground control stations in Air Force Reserve Command’s only special operations Reaper Operations Center, in support of special operations task forces in four areas of responsibility and directly enabled the continuous battlefield presence of more than seventy percent of special operations Reaper combat air patrols, which produced 1,760 combat sorties, totaling more than 14,000 hours for 169 personnel. Furthermore, Sergeant Proze flew 134 combat sorties totaling 510 combat hours, during which he located more than 100 enemy combatants and personally laser-guided three Hellfire missiles and two guided bombs, which resulted in six enemy eradicated and the destruction of two enemy vehicles armed with improvised explosives. Finally, he served on the first-ever special operations aircrew to participate in Emerald Flag Exercise. As a result, the unit was hand-picked to plan and execute the first-ever live fire training during the exercise series, which enabled development of new tactics and techniques to enable Joint All-Domain Command and Control. The distinguished accomplishments of Sergeant Proze reflect credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Staff Sergeant Trevor L. Rohrer distinguished himself as C-146A Loadmaster and Supply Non-Commissioned Officer, 524th Special Operations Squadron, Duke Field, Florida, from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021. During this period, Sergeant Rohrer assisted in managing the squadron’s 1.5-million-dollar budget for 130 service members enabling operations in more than 105 countries in support of four theater special operations commands. Furthermore, he oversaw the implementation of a two-factor authentication system allowing the squadron to securely communicate with embassies worldwide while hedging against emerging cyber security threats. Additionally, Sergeant Rohrer led a 60,000 dollar renovation of the squadron mission planning area, modernizing the mission planning suites while also doubling the available space. The updates allowed squadron aviators to have a dedicated location to thoroughly plan flights together as a crew using the most up to date hardware and software applications. Finally, he took charge of the 105,000 dollar squadron technology refurbishment initiative. He served as the single point of contact with the communication squadron and managed the purchase of 92 new computers, their reimaging, installment, and the disposal of old hardware. This refurbishment was key to the squadron’s Coronavirus pandemic mitigation efforts by supplying squadron members with the ability to telework during the peak of the pandemic. The distinctive accomplishments of Sergeant Rohrer reflect credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Technical Sergeant Brett E. Rush distinguished himself as Non-Commissioned Officer-in-Charge, Religious Affairs, at his unit from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021. During this period, Sergeant Rush deployed as the Air Operations Non-Commissioned Officer-in-Charge, assigned to a joint task force in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE. His superior display of leadership, dedication, and professionalism empowered the coordination and execution of 115 sorties, 52,000 pounds of cargo, 53 mobility movements, and 389 combat flight hours. He expertly oversaw and protected sensitive property accounts worth more than 10 million dollars and increased flight crew berthing capacity by 15 percent, preserving vital mission capability during the Coronavirus pandemic. Concurrently, while dual-hatted in his primary duty as the unit’s senior enlisted member of the Religious Support Team, he advised seven commanders in the areas of spirituality, ethics, and morale. His tireless advocacy propelled 987 hours of squadron visitation from the unit’s chapel team, leading to 109 critical crisis interventions. As the budget manager for the unit’s resiliency funding, he executed 295 thousand dollars, bringing 27 events to fruition and engaging 998 attendees. These actions directly ensured the wellbeing and readiness of the unit’s Air Commandos and their families. Additionally, Sergeant Rush was crucial in developing a Moral Injury awareness curriculum which trained 11 joint Chaplains and 63 operators. Furthermore, his excellence was continuously recognized, as he led his team to their third-consecutive command Small Chapel of the Year Award. The distinctive accomplishments of Sergeant Rush reflect credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Captain Jacob L. Wiseman distinguished himself as Assistant Director of Operations, 353d Special Operations Support Squadron, Kadena Airbase, Japan, and 415th Special Operations Squadron, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021. During this time, Captain Wiseman served as the mission commander for a joint, short-notice typhoon evacuation, leading six MC-130J aircraft with 96 personnel to safety. His efforts preserved 570 million dollars in Air Force assets and helped bolster United States Indo-Pacific Command’s crisis response force capabilities. He also operationalized intelligence support for two squadrons, resulting in increased near-peer combat readiness of 200 special operations aircrew and operators. Moreover, Captain Wiseman identified training policy shortfalls for the MC-130J aircraft commander upgrade. He liaised with six MC-130J squadrons across three major commands and authored policy changes to improve MC-130J aircraft commander upgrades while reducing operational risk. Separately, he led the mission planning environment transition for the 415th Special Operations Squadron during major system upgrades. These upgrades resulted in the installation of 24 new systems totaling 81,000 dollars and ultimately led the 415th Special Operations Squadron to meet Air Force Special Operations Command’s original transition timeline. Finally, Captain Wiseman served at multiple volunteer events for food distribution to at-risk families and removed over 1,000 pounds of rock and cement paving the way for the renovation of a religious site. The distinctive accomplishments of Captain Wiseman reflect credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.