2015 Pacific Theater Air and Missile Defender of the Year

Honolulu, Hawaii / September 26, 2015

On Saturday September 26th, 2015 at the Moana Surfrider on the Hawaiian Islands, home to the United States Pacific Command, we brought forward our best U.S. war fighters in integrated air and missile defense from throughout the Pacific theater to be honored. The Pacific region has the most mature air and missile defense operational systems deployed in the world today in response to the most advanced ballistic and cruise missile threats to the United States and its allies. The United States Pacific Combatant Commander, Admiral Harry Harris, presented and spoke to our ten award recipients from the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines on their value in preserving the peace within the Pacific region. These ten awardees, including a Pacific Theater Achievement and Career Achievement, represented current United States integrated air and missile defense systems deployed throughout the Pacific today.

The 2015 Inaugural Pacific Theater Integrated Air and Missile Defense Award Winners

Army Winners:

From the 94th AAMDC Command, the best crew overseeing the two AN/TPY-2 forward-based radars deployed in Kyogamisaki and Shariki, Japan.

Sergeant Thomas O’Neal IV


Staff Sergeant Joe Chacon

Staff Sergeant Robert Field

Navy Winner:

Aegis BMD Ship-based Weapons and Combat Systems Operator, from the USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53).

Lieutenant Commander Christopher Descovich

Marine Winner:

Sensor operator for the AN/TPS-59 radar currently deployed in Korea out of Okinawa, Japan.

Major Jason Lambert

Air Force Winner:

Planner of the 613th Air Operations Center for the Pacific Theater of operations

Major David Pennington Jr.

Aegis Ashore Winner:

From the United States Navy, the Aegis Ashore winner from the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense complex at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii

Fire Controlman First Class Angela La’Vant

Space and Early Warning Winner:

From the United States Air Force, the Missile Warning Noncommissioned Officer in Charge, Nuclear Operations Branch, for U.S. Pacific Command

Technical Sergeant Travis Hutts

Civilian Career Achievement Winner:

Joint Integrated Air & Missile Defense Organization liaison to USPACOM

Ed Stikeleather

Achievement in the Pacific Winner:

Commander Jonathan Lipps

Presenting the ten awards were Brigadier General Eric Sanchez United States Army, Rear Admiral Mark Montgomery United States Navy, Brigadier General John Hillyer United States Air Force, and Colonel Eddie Boxx United States Air Force.

In addition to the recognition of the ten individuals and their systems that were selected from the command for their excellence and leadership on this mission, this celebration elevates the credibility of the air and missile defense mission within the Pacific Command. The excellence of these leaders and their confidence in the systems that counter the most complex air and missile threats in the world today sends a powerful message to our general public, our allies, and nations in the Pacific that threaten the United States of America.

Defenders of the Year