Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

General Lance W. Lord Awards Recognize the Best in the 21st Operations Group

21st Operations Group

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.   The 2013 Lance W. Lord Awards for Superior Space Operational Leadership were presented honoring units and members of the 21st Operations Group at the Peterson Club Sept. 12.

The evening’s theme was “Recognizing the men and women of the 21st Operations Group- America’s space superiority force.”

The General Lance W. Lord Award annually recognizes an outstanding unit, company grade officer, enlisted member and civil service employee assigned to the 21st Operations Group who has made significant contributions to the group’s mission through their job performance, professionalism and dedication.

Capt. Jonathan Smith, 6th Space Warning Squadron, won the Officer category. Smith led the operations support flight through multiple tests and system upgrades which corrected a radar limitation and increased tracking capability. Additionally, Capt. Smith stepped in for several months as the Squadron Operations Officer, successfully shepherding the unit through numerous ops/installation challenges with great poise and discipline.

Master Cpl. Shawn Belanger, a Royal Canadian Air Force member assigned to the 7th Space Warning Squadron, won in the Enlisted category. As the noncommissioned officer in charge of the operations training flight, Belanger provided expert instruction and guidance that decreased system crashes, mitigated jamming effects and increased proficiency ratings for multiple operators.

Dean MacNicol of the 21st Operations Support Squadron took home the award in the Civilian category. MacNicol, serving as the wing chief of maintenance, ensured the safety of the second busiest passenger terminal in the Department of Defense and provided maintenance support for the most diverse Operations Group in the Air Force.

Finally, the 4th Space Control Squadron won the Unit Category for their outstanding work.

“The 21st Operations Group has a demanding worldwide mission with many amazing Airmen doing the mission every day,” said Lt. Col. Eric Lingle, 4th SPCS commander. “The level of performance across the entire Operations Group is phenomenal and I am honored that the men and women of the 4th Space Control Squadron were recognized for their leadership, technical expertise, professionalism and dedication to our assigned mission. It is truly a privilege to lead and serve with these talented Airmen and their families. Pirates Rock!”

This year’s Lord Award banquet introduced a new friendly competition. Each of the 21st OG units brought a “Heraldic Device” to the dinner. Throughout the early part of the evening, the unit commanders presented their devices by giving a speech on its history and relevance to the unit. Gen. Lance W. Lord, former Air Force Space Command commander, attended the banquet and served as judge for the heraldic device competition. Making for a truly international affair indicative of the 21st OG, Wing Commander David Keighly, station commander at RAF Fylingdales, was selected by Lord as the winner after an impressive presentation on the history of air and missile defense in the United Kingdom, the critical roles of the Fylingdales Ballistic Missile Early Warning Site, and a tribute to the ensuring defense partnership between the United Kingdom and the Unites States.

Lord and his wife Beccy complimented the men and women of the 21st OG on a great event and thanked everyone for all they do to defend this nation.

Col. David Miller, 21st OG commander, summed up the event in his closing remarks by thanking the active duty, Guard, Reserve, allied, civilian, and contractor team that execute the 21st OG missions 24-hours per day, seven days a week.

“Thanks to you and your families for the work you do to ensure U.S. and allied space superiority each and every day,” he said

To Top