2016 Okinawa Missile Defender of the Year

Okinawa, Japan / November 22, 2016

The Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance held its fourth annual Okinawa Defender of the Year Award Ceremony in Okinawa, Japan on Tuesday November 22, 2016. The event honored Missile Defenders of the U.S. Army 1st Battalion 1st Air Defense Artillery, U.S. Air Force 18th Wing, Japan Air Self Defense Force 5th Air Defense Missile Group, and Japan Ground Self Defense Force 15th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment.

2016 Okinawa Defenders of the Year:

U.S. Army 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Awardees

 SGT Ruben Hernandez SGT John Gonzalez 2LT William Heida
PFC Juan Mejia SPC Carlos Flores SPC Charles Briggs
PFC Raven Piper SSG Melissa Smith SGT James Semiene
PFC Danielle Blackmond PFC Cameron Westfall PFC Tyler Heim
SSG Walter Smith SPC Joseph Baranoski SPC Aaron Morris
1LT Patrick Rachel SPC Isaac Reid SPC Mary Taylor

U.S. Air Force 18th Wing Awardees

 SSgt James Anderson A1C Alexander Kadajski
 TSgt Lauren Ducote A1C Nicholas Garcia

Japan Air Self Defense Force 5th Air Defense Missile Group Awardees

SSgt Tomohide Itarashiki SSgt Masakazu Ikeda
SSgt Yutaka Toguchi  TSgt Shunsuke Suzuki
SSgt Shu Miyazaki SSgt Keito Suto

Japan Ground Self Defense Force 15th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment Awardees

 SGT Yuya Tachibana SGT Takayuki Shingaki
SGT Ryotaro Kaku MSG Masaki Hitaka
SGT Tsuyoshi Oshiro SFC Manabu Higaonna

Distinguished guests included Lieutenant General Junichi Araki of Japan, Commander of the Japanese Southwestern Composite Air Division, Major General James Pasquarette, Commander of U.S. Army Japan and I Corps, Brigadier General Sean Gainey, Commander of the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC), and Lieutenant Colonel Scott Dellinger, Commander of the 1-1 ADA.

Defenders of the Year

International Cooperation