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Winners at the 2020 Alaska Missile Defender of the Year Award Ceremony on September 26, 2020.

“It is so important to us to recognize our best of the best in this great mission, this critical mission, that has kept our nation safe during these times of challenges with COVID. It’s a great honor to have some great winners and great leaders in this field across our Services, to recognize younger leaders in the field today who are upholding the air defense and ballistic missile defense mission for Alaska and our nation.” – Riki Ellison; September 26, 2020; Alaska Missile Defender of the Year Award Ceremony.

On Saturday night, we were honored to recognize leadership excellence, for 2020, in the Air and Missile Defense mission for the Defense of Alaska and our nation. This event marks the first one with the inclusion of Air Defense along with Ballistic Missile Defense, in the recognition of the 611th of the 7th USAF, for the Alaska Missile Defender of the Year. These American men and women of our armed forces, through their resiliency of conditions unique in Alaska, and through COVID, were recognized for excellence in their operations, from Shemya, Clear Air Station, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, to Fort Greely, Alaska, at our seventh annual Alaska Missile Defender of the Year ceremony. We had great respect for our awardees in having some of our best leaders in this mission to recognize their professionalism on Saturday night: Senator Dan Sullivan; Lt. Gen. Marc Sasseville; Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau, Lt. Gen. David Krumm; Commander of the 11th USAF, Maj. Gen. Tim Lawson, Acting Deputy Commander U.S. Space Command; and Major Gen. Philip Garrant, Program Executive of the Ground-Based Weapon System MDA.

The mission stands strong, capable, and reliant.

“I want to thank you, whether you’re working out at Fort Greely, or Clear, or Cobra Dane. So much of America’s missile defense system, the missiles, the radar, are in the great state of Alaska… There’s a lot happening here but it wouldn’t happen without all of you, so, again, I want to congratulate everybody for the great job that you’re doing. Congratulations to all the awardees tonight.” – Senator Dan Sullivan; September 26, 2020; Alaska Missile Defender of the Year Award Ceremony.

Our 2020 Alaska Missile Defender of the Year awardees

611th Air Operations Center

Airman First Class Carson Willard


Master Sergeant Brandon Renko


Captain Samuel Keller


Major Karlton Wolf


Major Brieanna Carroll


Ft. Greely Base Defenders

Specialist Emanuel Diaz Santiago


Sergeant Vincent Weiters


Ft. Greely Top Crew (Echo Crew)

Staff Sergeant Matthew Myers


Staff Sergeant Alberto Galicia


First Lieutenant Kyle Rehberg


Captain Gilberto Ortiz


Major Terri Homestead


Cobra Dane Radar

Master Sergeant Tariq Simpson


Clear Air Force Station Base Defenders

Staff Sergeant Matthew Dunlap


Staff Sergeant Gersom Rivera


Clear Air Force Station Top Crew

Staff Sergeant Kenneth Jewitt


Captain Kevin Nelson


Named after Senator Ted Stevens, for his leadership on missile defense, the Alaska Missile Defender Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) for 2020 was presented by Lily Stevens Becker, daughter of Senator Ted Stevens, to Master Sargent Daniel Kennett of the 213th Space Warning Squadron out of Clear Air Station.

Ted Stevens Memorial Award for Best Alaskan Missile Defender

Master Sergeant Daniel Kennett

“Look, we all know that we’re facing an increasingly hostile world out there; whether it’s North Korea, Iran, China, Russia… The threats are serious, the threats are real, and one of the things I’ve tried to do as your Senator is build up our military, build up our military, restore lethality and readiness, but do it especially in Alaska, because we are so strategic. You know, I like to talk about how Alaska constitutes three pillars of our nation’s military might. We are the hub of air combat power for the Arctic and Asia-Pacific. We are a platform for expeditionary forces, given our strategic location that can go anywhere in the world in a moment’s notice. And, of course, we are the cornerstone of missile defense for America, 24/7… protecting not just Alaska, but America.” – Senator Dan Sullivan; September 26, 2020; Alaska Missile Defender of the Year Award Ceremony.

“This is a one team, one fight. I think Lt. Gen. Sasseville said it very well: resilience makes you champions. The more resilience you have, the more confidence your team gets, the closer your team gets, the trust builds… You, this year, have gone over some of the hardest resilience known, in COVID-19, and you’ve beaten it and stood up and kept our nation safe when you’ve got countries out there that want to take advantage of our weakness with COVID, at this point. That was remarkable.

You have to look at how important Alaska is, when you look at what MG Garrant said; the best stuff, the newest stuff is not going in any of the other 49 states. It’s going in your state. You’re getting the best we got on LRDR, you’re getting the best we got on the NGI. Alaska is the gateway to the defense of our nation and we’ve awarded, tonight, that unified team.

This event was built 10 years after the first deployment of the first GBI. In no other time in the history of our country has one system been able to defend all 50 states. You are the key to it, because it’s leadership. It’s leadership by actions, which each of you has done in order to be able to get that award tonight. We treat world champions like world champions. You are world champions. Our country is undefeated in your mission, so, thank you for doing what you do best and winning.” – Riki Ellison; September 26, 2020; Alaska Missile Defender of the Year Award Ceremony.​

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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.