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Peterson Space Observer

21st Space Wing JA officer wins Air Force award

Maj. William “Chad” Austin, 21st Space Wing Judge Advocate General office, was recently named the 2008 Reginald C. Harmon Award winner. Major Austin is a Reservist who served with the 21st SW JAG. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Maj. William “Chad” Austin, 21st Space Wing Judge Advocate General office, was recently named the 2008 Reginald C. Harmon Award winner. Major Austin is a Reservist who served with the 21st SW JAG. (U.S. Air Force photo)

by Strategic Communications Branch

U.S. Air Force TJAG Action Group

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Maj. William “Chad” Austin, 21st Space Wing Judge Advocate General office, was recently named the 2008 Reginald C. Harmon Award winner.

The Harmon Award recognizes the most outstanding Air Reserve Component officer, in the grade of lieutenant colonel or below, based on training accomplishments or contribution to mission support, exhibition of leadership in the military or civilian community, and enrollment in off-duty programs of professional self-improvement.

“Major Austin is the ultimate force multiplier,” said Lt. Col. Mike Hoversten, 21st Space Wing Staff Judge Advocate. “He assisted the legal office in preparing for the 21st Space Wing’s operational readiness and unit compliance inspections, and then volunteered to deploy to Law and Order Task Force in Iraq in lieu of a 21st Space Wing JAG. They simply don’t come any better than Chad.”

During 2008, Major Austin served as the deputy staff judge advocate at Peterson for six weeks. He advised commanders on a wide range of complex issues, including deactivation of the wing’s maintenance group and release of medical information after an Airman’s suicide. He then volunteered to deploy to the Law and Order Task Force in Iraq, where he led a team of investigators in handling more than 100 terrorism cases and overhauled the case tracking system.

He also served as the liaison with 26 Iraqi judges and made more than 70 trips into hostile areas where he obtained more than 200 warrants for the detention of suspected terrorists. To track and execute these warrants, he designed a new warrant database, enhancing  its effectiveness by gaining the cooperation of 15 key leaders of international agencies to share information.

“Major Austin’s leadership and legal expertise were key to his successes with the Law and Order Task Force in Iraq,” said Lt. Gen. Jack L. Rives, Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Air Force. “It is difficult and often dangerous work, and he performed magnificently. He’s a real role model.”

This award honors retired Maj. Gen. Reginald C. Harmon, who was the first judge advocate general of the Air Force. Major Austin will be formally recognized at an awards banquet during KEYSTONE 2009, the JAG Corps’ leadership summit, being held the last week of October in Dallas.

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