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Bringing forward honor to the 2020 Indo-Pacific Air & Missile Defenders of the Year, from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, April 15th, 2021.

“The Indo-Pacific is the single most consequential region for America’s future. It is the United States priority theater as clearly highlighted by the National Security Strategy and the National Defense Strategy. Our INDOPACOM forces operate throughout the region to deter aggression, ensure freedom of navigation, provide access to global markets and promote regional stability, mutual security, and economic prosperity.” — Lt. Gen Mike Milihan, Deputy Commander at USINDOPACOM, on April 15, 2021.

Last week, on April 15, we held a live, in-person award ceremony to honor our 2020 Indo-Pacific Air and Missile Defenders of the Year at the very heart of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Five leaders of excellence from four military services were honored, to include a guardian from the Space Force, for their exemplary service. These four military services are cornerstone pillars of operational missile defense in the Indo-Pacific. The joint group of five represented the missile-defense excellence of the United States, in the most challenging area of responsibility for the U.S. armed forces’ geographic combatant commands.

The 2020 Indo-Pacific Air and Missile Defender of the Year Awardees

U.S. Pacific Air Forces Awardee

Captain Ryan Vath
613th Air Operations Center, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii

U.S. Pacific Fleet Awardee

Lieutenant Simon Mansonhing
USS John Finn (DDG-113) – Naval Base San Diego, California

U.S. Army Pacific Awardees

Lieutenant Colonel William Hunter III
94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Robert Finley
94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii

U.S. Space Force Awardee

Technical Sergeant Jeremiah Tillery
613th Air Operations Center, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii


“These five represent that type of character and leadership. And you have to build on these pillars and you have to come together. It’s about trust: that’s the single biggest thing that we have to accomplish between each other. Because if you can trust each other, you communicate, you play for each other, and you win collectively against all resiliencies.” — Riki Ellison; April, 15, 2021.

“The world is challenging. It’s exciting because you’ve got a cauldron that’s being built, and it’s going to force you to become great. And the near-peer competitor of China is that cauldron competitor that’s going to make us better than we are.” — Riki Ellison; April, 15, 2021.

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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.