Dobbins Recognition Ceremony honors outstanding Airmen

  • Published
  • By by Maj. Stephani Schafer
  • 94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 94th Airlift Wing hosted its annual Dobbins Recognition Ceremony in Atlanta, Feb. 3.

The banquet takes place annually to recognize award winners and other superior performers from across the 94th AW.

“This is about embracing our history,” said Col. Carl Magnusson, 94th AW commander. “In 2023 we celebrate our 80th anniversary. These events are part of our heritage. We follow in the footsteps of giants, and we will recognize our giants tonight.”

Each year, the wing selects the best of the best from squadron-level and above for competition in 10 categories: Airman, Noncommissioned Officer, Senior Noncommissioned Officer, First Sergeant, Company Grade Officer, Field Grade Officer, Civilian Categories I, II, and III and Team. The wing also recognized its top Spouse and Volunteer Excellence awards during the event.

The 2022 Annual Award winners for the 94th AW are:

Airman category: Senior Airman Princess Forbes, 94th Maintenance Group

Noncommissioned Officer category: Tech. Sgt. Brandon Duncan, 94th MXG

Senior Noncommissioned Officer category: Master Sgt. Sarah Mears, 94th Aeromedical Staging Squadron

First Sergeant category: Master Sgt. Dustin Smisson, 94th ASTS

Company Grade Officer category: Capt. Jamiko Cooper, 94th ASTS

Field Grade Officer category: Maj. Bart Clark, 94th AW

Civilian, Category I: Mrs. Stacey Stallings, 94th AW

Civilian, Category II: Mr. Troy Strifler, 94th Mission Support Group

Civilian, Category III: Ms. Valerie Olsson, 94th MSG

Team: 94th Civil Engineer Squadron

Spouse: Mrs. Octavia Jones

Volunteer Excellence: Mrs. Pascale Kowalski

“In the Air Force, we exist and compete against each other in tasks that are beyond the edges of the imagination,” Magnusson told the crowd. “Our credibility is graded on our ability to assure and protect the air, space, and non-kinetic domains through weapons and effects on target. Nobody else in the world does it like the Air Force. And yet, we still compete against each other to pick the best of the best – to pick winners.”

In addition to being named the wing’s best, this year’s ‘Square A’ award winners received an additional honor. Mr. Neal VanMarter, Office of U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff Military and Veterans Services Representative, was in attendance to present a U.S. Senate Recognition from Senator Ossoff to all annual award recipients. This award is presented by the senator in recognition of outstanding contributions to the community and to the State of Georgia.

“This year’s winners were so exceptional that the Senator’s office requested they bestow an additional honor. Senatorial Recognition is not given lightly,” Magnusson said. “Those in this audience tonight are the best our nation has to offer. You are our future.”

The 94th AW annual award winners will now move on to the level to compete with Airmen from across 22nd Air Force. If selected at that level, they will have the opportunity to compete among all Reserve Citizen Airmen within Air Force Reserve Command.

“I want you all to understand that [Reservists] are just as capable as any other Airmen,” Maj. Gen. Bret Larson, 22nd AF commander told attendees. “In fact, we’re just as capable and we’re only there part time … You stand on the shoulders of leaders like Jimmy Doolittle, Jimmy Stewart, Maryanne Miller and Joseph McNeil. They are our past. The winners here tonight, those who inspire us here today, they are our future.”

Although only twelve Airmen were honored by being named the best of 2022, the event was also a celebration of the challenges and obstacles the Airmen of the 94th AW have overcome during the past year.

“During the past year we experienced fleet-wide grounding problems. We hosted the first full-spectrum readiness exercise within the Wing in five years. During that exercise we got dirty, we made mistakes and, most importantly, we learned,” lauded Magnusson. We learned so that we can continue to train and prepare … I can only think that when General Brown spoke of ‘Accelerate Change or Lose,’ he could have been talking about the 94th Airlift Wing. We are, and can be, the change we want to be.”