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Airmen of the Year - 2008

Charlotte, N.C. -- By Staff Sgt Cassandra Locke, 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Four Airmen were recognized for their above-and-beyond contributions to the Air National Guard mission.

Master Sgt. Wendy Larsen was awarded Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. Master Sgt. Michael Smith was awarded as Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, Senior Airman Jacqueline Plumley was awarded Airman of the Year and Master Sgt. Robert Boyer was awarded First Sergeant of the Year.

"We're extremely proud of the outstanding members selected as this year's Airmen and First Sergeant of the year," said Chief Master Sgt. Terry Henderson, North Carolina Air National Guard command chief.

The chief said that the Airmen are being considered for awards at the national level.
"They truly are the best of the best and will represent North Carolina well in the national competition."

Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year
Master Sgt. Wendy Larsen
145th Services Flight

Master Sergeant Wendy Larsen is the services readiness technician for the 145th Services Flight. She is currently a senior attending the University of North Carolina working toward a degree in financial management. She is a member of the "Time and Place" committee, as well as a unit representative for the North Carolina National Guard Association. She also serves as the secretary of the local chapter for the NCNGA. Sergeant Larsen has served for five years as the treasurer for the 145th AW enlisted club. She has volunteered for "School Tool's" for three years, helping obtain and distribute basic school items to needy local children. She has also organized the wing Christmas party for four years.

Noncommissioned Officer of the Year
Master Sgt. Michael Smith
118th Air Support Operations Squadron

Master Sergeant Michael Smith is the operations training manager for the 118th Air Support Operations Squadron. Sergeant Smith joined the NCNG in 2001. He became a Joint Terminal Attack Controller in 2003, and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 30th Brigade Combat Team, in 2004. Sergeant Smith was NCOIC of Bravo Flight, 118th ASOS, and again deployed to Iraq in 2005 with the 2/28th Brigade Combat Team. He became a JTAC instructor in 2006, and is a graduate of the US Army Basic Airborne Course and Air Assault Course. Master Sergeant Smith was appointed Operations Training Manager of the 118th ASOS in November, 2008.


Airman of the Year
Senior Airman Jacqueline Plumley
235th Air Traffic Control Squadron

Senior Airman Jacqueline S. Plumley became the first local member of the 235th Air Traffic Control Squadron. She deployed to Southern Iraq for more than 135 days where she was coined by the base commander for her hard work, coined by the Romanian CC for her quick response to a fire and saving their camp from losing millions, and coined by the Navy Commander for her work volunteering as the pilot controller liaison. She recruited six people with GRAP as well as thousands more while on an ADOS tour at the National Guard Bureau. She volunteered at Catawba College JROTC leadership school and while teaching water survival saved a drowning cadet earning her Airman of the Quarter. She has represented the Air Force in two commercials, multiple flag folding ceremonies, parades, and local July 4th concerts.

First Sergeant of the Year
Master Sgt. Robert Boyer
118th Air Support Operations Squadron

Master Sgt. Robert Boyer, 118th Air Support Operations Squadron, was awarded First Sergeant of the Year. He is the principle advisor to the squadron Commander on unit morale and welfare and assists all members with personally and professionally. Sergeant Boyer joined the North Carolina Air National Guard in January 1999. He had accrued 12 years as a maintenance technician before dedicating his career to helping others. He has deployed to Southwest Asia, Germany, Antarctica, and with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System and other missions since joining the wing. In 2005, at the Non Commissioned Officer Academy, he was chosen as class leader and was the "Binnacker Award" recipient at the First Sergeant Academy in December 2006.

"Congratulations to all who were nominated this year. Commanders did an outstanding job recommending deserving members," said Chief Henderson.
"The selection board has a tough job, because there was so many quality members recommended with great packages."