163d Attack Wing celebrates outstanding airmen

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Crystal Housman
  • 163d Attack Wing Public Affairs

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif. – Members of the California Air National Guard’s 163d Attack Wing and their families gathered to celebrate the best among them, Nov. 3, 2018, during the wing’s annual Outstanding Airman of the Year banquet and ceremony at March Air Reserve Base, California.


Nominees from each of the wing’s four groups and headquarters element walked the red carpet toward a stage bathed in blue light as the crowd of about 350 erupted with whoops and hollers, cowbells, clappers and air horns. Sounds echoed across the metal hangar building as Airmen rose to cheer each of their group’s nominees.


Col. Sean Navin, wing commander, and Command Chief Master Sgt. Gilbert Sanchez greeted nominees on stage and presented an eagle statuette to each. Afterwards, Navin reflected on the wing and its accomplishments over the past year.


“There’s no finer wing than this wing, period,” 163d Attack Wing Commander, Col. Sean Navin, told the audience.


Later in the evening, the wing announced its winners in six categories.


  • Outstanding Airman of the Year: Staff Sgt. Zachary Bishop of the 163d Operations Group (earned as a Senior Airman)

  • Outstanding Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: Master Sgt. Ruben Dominguez of the 163d Maintenance Group (earned as a Tech. Sgt.)

  • Outstanding Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: Master Sgt. Eric Hurley of the 163d Maintenance Group

  • Outstanding First Sgt. of the Year: Senior Master Sgt. Donald Hedge of the 163d Headquarters

  • Outstanding Company Grade Officer of the Year: Capt. Keith Ericson of the 163d Headquarters

  • Outstanding Field Grade Officer of the Year: Lt. Col. David Cramer of the 163d Mission Support Group


Two California State Military Reserve airmen from the organization’s 163d Support Group were also recognized. Airman 1st Class Robert Phipps and Tech. Sgt. Gregory Solman advance to represent the group during a statewide competition next year.


Navin and Sanchez presented plaques to Dora Holt and Laura Louie to recognize their efforts as the key spouse volunteers for the 163d Civil Engineer Squadron and 163d Medical Group, respectively.


California Cadet Corps Cadet Maj. Raul Perez and Cadet Capt. Heather Abrisz received plaques and applause while being named Cadets of the Year for California Military Institute (CMI). CMI is a military-themed public charter school in Perris, California, that uses the California Military Department’s youth leadership development program as its foundation, and also enjoys a long-standing relationship with the 163d Attack Wing as the unit’s adopted school.


All in all, the event was a great success, Navin said.


“This is the 163d at its best,” Navin said. “From the nominees and winners to the production and incredible enthusiasm. It was a thoroughly rewarding experience for all in attendance.”


Wing award winners advance as nominees for the California Air National Guard’s statewide Outstanding Airmen of the Year competition, with the possibility of moving forward to the Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force nationwide competition.