Unsung Heroes

Dear Members and Friends,

Our nations highly complex missile defense systems made up of the most innovative American technology leading the world in this arena will never replace nor out value the men and women that fight with these systems, for they apply and execute this complexity in real life situations to prevent conflict on a regional and strategic scale. They represent the accumulation of all of the technology, testing, development, procurement, policy, resources and workforce. The men and women of our nations Armed Forces in Missile Defense are seldom recognized, acknowledged or appreciated for their unheralded selfless duties.

No better example and demonstration of their combined efforts than the real world application of the recent North Korean missile test. The total integration and application of United States missile defense systems across multiple platforms and services in the Pacific region was achieved to give stability, protection and security to our citizens, our allies and our forces located there.

The multiple Aegis BMD ships assigned to the 7th fleet led by the USS Shiloh, the Patriot Batteries of the 35th Army Air Defense Brigade, the AN/TPY-2 and SBX radars, the overhead SBIRS and DSP Satellites, JTAGS, the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command that integrated all of these assets were made up of hundreds of United States Military Missile Defense War Fighters that were dominantly represented by the United States Navy and the United States Army. Their assignments put them in the China Sea, the Sea of Japan, the Pacific Ocean, off the coasts of our allies, on the ground in Korea, Japan and Hawaii. The confidence of this successful and massive application of missile defense assets in the Pacific region that was seamlessly integrated and functioning in real time against a real world missile crisis is monumental and was achieved by our men and women of the Armed Forces trained to fight with these complex missile defense systems.

Sacrifices were given by all of these unsung war fighters and their families, as United States Aegis BMD ships assigned to the Mid Pacific Fleet had returned and in the process of returning to Hawaii after an eight month deployment of hazardous duty in the Persian Gulf were requested to head back out for close to an additional month. The USS Russell was three days from Hawaii when its crew got the orders.

In due respect and honor of the feats displayed by both the Army and the Navy Missile Defense War Fighters in their successful mission, MDAA hosted a reception in Honolulu, Hawaii to recognize and show appreciation to select sailors and soldiers that represented their excellence in performance and in reflection of their ships, batteries and command from the recent crisis surrounding North Korea.

Mid Pacific Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Fernandez ‘Frank’ Ponds and the Commander of the 94th AAMDC Brigadier General James Dickinson along with Hawaii State Representative Jimmy Tokioka, on behalf of the Hawaiian State Legislators, presented the following sailors and soldiers with recognition of excellence.

USS HOPPER DDG-60

LT Brian Lucas

LTJG Tyler Kelley

USS RUSSELL DDG-59

LTJG Justin Sheet

FC1 Sean McGinnis

FC1 James Thornton

USS PORT ROYAL CG-73

LT Basilio Nava

FC1 (SW) Christopher King

OS2 (SW) Kevin Doran

LAKE ERIE CG-70

FC1 Joseph Fields

FC3 Kyle Gerlofs


94th AAMDC

Maj Brian Campbell

CPT Kurt Semon

CW3 Timothy Friend

SFC Jeremy Bennett

SSG Jonathon Dombrowski

SFC Benjamin Sharp

SPC Crystal Hurley

Mike Chase

Maj George Corbari

MSG Neil Sartain

These men and women deserve the adulation of our community and rightful recognition in representing their shipmates and battle buddies in making our nation and world safe.

Resource Library