Airmen win ACC awards, to compete at Air Force level

  • Published
  • By Darren D. Heusel
  • Tinker Public Affairs
Two Airmen assigned to geographically separated units with ties to the 552nd Air Control Wing here at Tinker Air Force Base were honored recently by their major command with the highest awards possible in cyberspace operations.

Staff Sgt. Justin Hein, a member of the 728th Air Control Squadron at Eglin AFB, Fla., was lauded as the Air Combat Command Cyber Systems Operations Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, while Staff Sgt. Matthew Ochoa, with the 726th Air Control Squadron at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, was hailed as the Ground Radar Systems NCO of the Year for ACC.

Both Airmen will now go on to compete at the Air Force level in their respective categories.

"I am honored to be the ACC (Cyber Systems) NCO category representative for the annual Information Dominance awards at the Air Force level," Sergeant Hein said.
Hein said he was actually surprised to win at the MAJCOM level since he is the sole Cyber Systems NCO in the 728th ACS.

"I'm happy the small and big things my shop does at home station or in a deployed location on a regular basis are having a decisive impact on the war against terrorism through information dominance means," he said. "This award is a testament to my co-workers and supervision. Without them, I would not have won at any level."

Sergeant Ochoa said being recognized first at the 12th Air Force level and then the ACC level means a great deal to him personally.

He said he is looking forward to competing at the Air Force level, but realizes none of the accolades he's received could have been possible without the top notch leadership appointed over him and the "extremely motivated" Airmen who serve under him.
"Having them working above their station has allowed me to take on more challenging projects," Sergeant Ochoa said.

He said he is also very appreciative of his wife, Jennifer, whose "dedication to our family lets me focus on the mission."

Col. Greg Guillot, 552nd Air Control Wing commander, said the entire wing is extremely proud of the two staff sergeants, adding, "To earn MAJCOM-level recognition shows these two are truly elite NCOs."

"Moreover," he said, "it shows the excellence of their supervisors and co-workers since success in the military takes a team effort."

Colonel Guillot went on to say the outstanding achievement attained by Staff Sergeants Hein and Ochoa is further testament that the Airmen of the 552nd ACW are the best in the world at delivering command and control and battle management to combatant commanders worldwide.

"We wish Sergeants Hein and Ochoa the best of luck in the Air Force-level competition," he said.