2013 U.S. Missile Defender of the Year

Alexandra, Virginia / January 2014

After an outstanding year in Missile Defense, we recognize a remarkable feat of leadership within our Nation’s Missile Defense Community of the four Armed Service Branches for 2013. We are extremely proud to announce to you our Alliance’s annual Missile Defender of the Year Award recipients for 2013:

SSG Nancy Wingo

 United States Army


 CPT Benjamin Szutar

United States Air Force


LT Brandon Bridges

 United States Navy


 SSG Nicholas Power

United States National Guard.

Each one of these individuals represents their platoons, flights, departments, crews, battalions, wings, ships and their branches in the most important and measurable way- leadership. The leadership ability of these young men and women to inspire their soldiers, sailors and airmen to complete extraordinary feats under extreme pressure in keeping our Nation and world safe for the year of 2013 is what we recognize, applaud and pay our deep respect and appreciation.

Each of these excellence of leadership winners for 2013 deployed and ran their missile defense systems to stabilize and bring peace to regions that were threatened most by ballistic missiles. LT Brandon Bridges served on the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system aboard USS Mahan that patrolled the waters off Syria. SSG Nicholas Power of the Alaskan National Guard served out of Fort Greely, Alaska, and oversaw daily the 26 ground based interceptors protecting our nation and territory from Hawaii to New York against North Korea, CPT Benjamin Szutar of the United States Air Force served out of Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado overseeing the daily information from our nation’s Defense Satellites Programs and SIBRIS High, which provide instant warnings and tracking’s of all and any ballistic missile launches around the world. SSG Nancy Wingo of the United States Army served out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, manning the Patriot TAC site platoon that was deployed to the Middle East in defense and deterrence against Iran.

These four men and women of our Military that selflessly serve and sacrifice themselves for our nation were honored and recognized this past Friday evening in Alexandria, Virginia at the 4th Annual MDAA Missile Defender of the Year Award Ceremony. Each of their military branches’ commanding flag officers presented the four award winners and recognized their outstanding display of excellence of leadership for 2013. The Chief of Naval Operations for the United States, Admiral Jon Greenert presented LT Brandon Bridges for the United States Navy. The Senior Army Air Defense officer, LTG Robert Lennox presented SSG Nancy Wingo for the United States Army. The Commanding General for US Army Space and Missile Defense and Army Strategic Command LTG David Mann, presented SSG Nicholas Power for the Army National Guard. LTG Judith Fedder of the United States Air Force presented CPT Benjamin Szutar for the United States Air Force.  VADM Jim Syring Director of MDA, LTG Howard Bromberg, LTG David Halverson, MG John Rossi, RADM Thomas Rowden, BG Kennth Todorov and BG Michal Bridges were amongst our nation’s military leaders of  missile defense that were in attendance honoring and showing support to these winners in leading their missile defense missions of excellence for 2013.

On behalf of our members, friends and associates, we are honored to bring forward the 4th annual MDAA “Missile Defender of the Year” event held in remembrance of the first use of Missile Defense in the protection and defense at the outbreak of Desert Storm in January, 1991.

The Defenders of the Year award winners are selected by their peers and commanding officers from the United States Army, United Sates Navy, United States Air Force and the United States National Guard.

Our nation, our troops and our allies are safer due to the performance of these young leaders that are duly recognized.

Staff Sergeant Nicholas W. Power, National Guard

Staff Sergeant Nicholas W. Power hails from Concord, NH. He is currently pursuing his BA Degree in Homeland Defense from the American Military University, with a graduation goal of 2016. He has a total of 15 years of service with a military education that includes Structured Self Development, Advanced Leader Common Core, Air and Missile

Lieutenant Brandon Bridges, United States Navy

Lieutenant Brandon Bridges was born in Whitesburg, GA. He attended Central High School and graduated in May 1996. He entered the United States Navy on July 15th, 1996 and completed Recruit Training Great Lakes, IL in September 1996. After completing Boot Camp, he reported to Fire Controlman “A” school where he graduated with distinction and

SSG Nancy A. Wingo, United States Army

SSG(P) Nancy A. Wingo was born in Athens, Ohio and graduated from Alexander High school in 2001. She joined the military and attended Basic Training in September 2001 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Her Advanced Individual Training for Patriot Launching Station Enhanced Operator at Fort Bliss, Texas. After training, SSG Wingo was assigned to Alpha

Captain Benjamin C. Szutar, United States Air Force

Captain Benjamin C. Szutar is the Chief, Plans and Programs for the 460th Operations Support Squadron, Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado. Captain Szutar was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on 19 April 1983. He attended Crestwood High School, graduating in June 2001. He lettered each year in academics and marching band. He served as president of

Defenders of the Year