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Missile Defender of the Year, May 9th 2024. Credits: Mariusz Maciejewski/Military University of Technology

On the Anniversary of Victory Day for World War II in Warsaw, Poland, MDAA hosted with Poland the 2024 European Missile Defender of the Year recognizing and remembering it took people; an alliance of people, a coalition of multiple nations of people led by great leadership and sacrifice across and vertically of great people from privates to generals to citizens from each and every nation of the coalition of the willing to Win. Poland broke into its Independence in 1989 with the leadership of Lesh Wolska and President Ronald Reagan joining NATO in 1999. Poland is on the Eastern front of Europe and borders Russian Kaliningrad, Ukraine, and Belarus, putting Poland at the epicenter of NATO in its support of Ukraine in its war with Russia. People matter and no better place and no better time to recognize Europe’s best Missile Defenders of the Year for 2024.  This is MDAA’s 74th Missile Defender of the Year event that has recognized 913 Awardees from 22 Countries. It is the 7th MDAA European Missile Defender of the Year event that has awarded 55 Missile Defense Champions in Ramstein, Germany, Cologne Germany, Breda Netherlands, Berlin Germany, and now Warsaw Poland.

This is a historic first for Poland to host the event and is the historic first that a Polish Missile Defender soldier was awarded as a European Missile Defender of the Year recipient in Lt. Col. Arkadiusz Grzegorowski.

This historic event also recognized for the first time Ukraine and its best missile defense defenders over the past year in combat.
Our 2024 Missile Defender of the Year is about recognizing our best people, our champions, and forces that have the noblest of missions to defend lives throughout the European continent. 2024 has been a remarkable year for the number of missiles that have been used in aggression around the World– Hamas launching over 9,500 missiles, rockets, and drones at Israel; Russia firing over 7,400 missiles at Ukraine; and the Houthis launching over 50 missiles at Israeli and shipping targets. The amount of missiles being used with the intent to kill have been immense and defending against this onslaught is the most noble mission. Missile defense is a global, noble mission.

2024 in Europe was a remarkable year for all those Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Guardians across Europe that led with excellence in operating the missile defense systems that defended lives and infrastructure helping to make Europe and the World safer. We honor them and recognize their service and sacrifice for the betterment of their nations, Europe and the World.

The European 2024 Missile Defender of the Year

Credits: Mariusz Maciejewski/Military University of Technology

Lieutenant Colonel Arkadiusz Grzegorowski, Poland Awarde

Lieutenant Robert-Christian Camciuc, Romania Awardee

Staff Sergeant Gediminas Juozapaitis, Lithuania Awardee

Chief Warrant Officer Jay Siva, U.S. Army Awardee

Mr. James ‘Pepe’ Lopez, U.S. Air Forces Europe Awardee

Critical infrastructure defense of Ukraine
1. Private Oleksandr Tkach – Military unit A0222 (Special Presidential Brigade).

On May 20th, 2023 he successfully engaged a Shahed 131/136 and a cruise missile on the 24th of June,2023 with a stinger launcher. Was the first to practically prove effectiveness of MANPADS against targets of this type.         

2. Ukrainian gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft gun team.
Commander – Private 1st Class Maxim Gycyna
Gun operator – Private 1st class Maxim Novikov
Driver – Junior Sergeant Denis Semidolin

This team successfully intercepted a total of 22 Shaheeds.

3. Ukrainian Mobile Fire Team. Military unit A0139.
Gunner – Private Bohdan Tatarchyuk.
Driver – Private Vadym Gavrys
Assistant – Private Andriy Lazarenko

Having received potential interception coordinates for a Russian air launched cruise missile, this team quickly moved to the interception point, acquired the target and successfully intercepted a 13 million cruise missile with two short bursts of 50cal.    

We are honored to be joined by the following European champions and leaders in Missile Defense: Poland’s Ministry of National Defense Secretary of State Pawel Bejda, Deputy Commander NATO Allied Air Command Air Marshall Johnny Stringer, NATO Assistant General Secretary for Operations Tom Goffus, Poland’s Deputy Chief of the Armament Agency Brig. Gen. Michał Marciniak, and Poland’s Chief of the Armament Agency Brig. Gen. Artur Kuptel. We thank all of these remarkable leaders for their Leadership in honoring the best in missile defense for Europe in 2024.

Winners associate with Winners to Win.

“I’m in a frenzy of emotions, I can’t believe that so many people support us.  I am grateful for the world recognition for your support, and in the future my hunting will be easier and more effective, with your support I will do everything in my power and even more to protect my children, the children and women of our motherland of Ukraine!” – Gepard Commander Private 1st Class Maxim Gycyna, May 9th 2024

Mission Statement

MDAA’s mission is to make the world safer by advocating for the development and deployment of missile defense systems to defend the United States, its armed forces and its allies against missile threats.

MDAA is the only organization in existence whose primary mission is to educate the American public about missile defense issues and to recruit, organize, and mobilize proponents to advocate for the critical need of missile defense. We are a non-partisan membership-based and membership-funded organization that does not advocate on behalf of any specific system, technology, architecture or entity.