Last Friday night, we were honored to host MDAA’s first inaugural National Capital Region (NCR) Air and Missile Defender of the Year (DOY) award ceremony in Alexandria, Virginia to commemorate the very best excellence and leadership from the National Guard responsible for defending the U.S. capital from air and cruise missile threats. A mission put in place after Sept 11, 2001 to defend against air breathing threats to the pillars of democracy and governing bodies of the United States of America.
“Tonight, the great thing is we’re going to get to recognize a lot of these silent warriors, and believe me, we know that its silent. But we know that you’ve been trained to do what you’re going to do. And heaven forbid that day comes, we know that we can rely on you to tack care of everything, not just for the NCR but for our nation and also for all of our forces down range.” – Lieutenant General Dan Hokanson, Director of the Army National Guard.
The U.S. Army National Guard provides Avenger air defense systems to provide close range air defense protection and the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) to provide at a greater range 360 degree air and cruise missile defense for the NCR in Washington, D.C. The National Guard also uses AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel 360 degree radars to alert and target these short range air defense weapons of NASAMS and Avengers. All of the systems are coordinated by the Joint Air Defense Operations Center (JADOC), a joint center comprised of U.S. Army National Guard and U.S. Air Force National Guard, that is located at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling. The NASAMS in the NCR are the only deployed and fully operational 360 degree cruise missile defense system of the United States.
Introducing the 2019 Inaugural National Capital Region Missile Defenders of the Year:
NASAMS Top Crew
Specialist Alexander Costello
Sergeant Max Tauber
Sergeant Denisse Villalobos
Avenger Top Crew
Specialist Bertrand Pepper
Sergeant Kenny Harris
Staff Sergeant James Bristol
Air Force Awardee
Master Sergeant Stuart King
“This group that’s defending this city is invincible. And you’ve done it with five different National Guards from five different states. You’ve done it with the oldest equipment in the military. You have defended the best democratic city in the world. There’s no other city in the world today that’s better defended than you, than what you’re doing here. And you’ve done it in a very complex air environment with your sensors being able to pick up all that air traffic. You’ve done it with the most threats to you. And you’ve done it better than anybody else.”
It’s the Guard!
This marks MDAA’s 55th DOY ceremony that has been done in seven countries and has recognized 644 DOY Awardees from eighteen different nations.