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Patriotic Article
Troops and Veterans
By USAF 1st Lt. Bryan Bouchard

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Kadena Airmen Named Enlisted Aviator Of Year
(June 26, 2009)

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taff Sgt. Jon Ouchi, an airborne cryptologic operator with the 390th Intelligence Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan, was named the 2008 Henry "Red" Erwin Enlisted Aviator of the Year for noncommissioned officers June 12, 2009.
Staff Sgt. Jon Ouchi, an airborne cryptologic operator with the 390th Intelligence Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan, was named the 2008 Henry "Red" Erwin Enlisted Aviator of the Year for noncommissioned officers June 12, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo)
 KADENA AIR BASE, Japan (6/18/2009 - AFNS) -- A staff sergeant assigned to the 390th Intelligence Squadron was named the Air Force's noncommissioned officer recipient of the 2008 Henry "Red" Erwin Enlisted Aviator of the Year June 12.

"It was an honor to even be considered for this award, since there are many other just as, if not more deserving cryptologic operators downrange," said Staff Sgt. Jon Ouchi, an airborne cryptologic operator assigned to the 390th IS, an Air Combat Command tenant unit here from Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.

Sergeant Ouchi had many accomplishments in 2008, including earning a 98 percent on his Career Development Course tests and securing his Community College of the Air Force degree. Some of his most significant accomplishments came during his deployment to Iraq as part of a Special Operations Task Force, where he was finding and fixing the locations of suspected terrorists. This allowed operators on the ground to move in and finish the job of dismantling the criminal and terrorist networks in Iraq.

"I am very grateful to the leadership both here at the 390th IS and downrange for giving me the opportunity to see and do some interesting things," Sergeant Ouchi said. "Deploying in 2008 has been by far the highlight of my seven-year military

career, because of the people I met and things I did. Out in the desert, cryptologic operators play an integral role in the prosecution and elimination of anti-coalition militants and insurgents aboard the RC-135 and other platforms."
Sergeant Ouchi's contributions directly led to locating 182 targets and initiating 22 assaults during his 178-day tour. While these accomplishments are difficult to match, when asked, Sergeant Ouchi said he believes his best accomplishment was doing what NCOs do best -- taking care of Airmen.
"Helping my Airman get his much-deserved senior airman stripe was by far my most gratifying accomplishment in 2008," he said.

The squadron's leadership finds it easy to sing the Sergeant Ouchi's praises.

"Sergeant Ouchi will tell you that he was just doing his job and he likes to deploy because it is what his country needs him to do," said Lt. Col. Kevin Coyne, 390th IS commander. "I think that this sort of attitude is indicative of the way our junior enlisted force as a whole sees itself; it's why they volunteered to serve. Sergeant Ouchi is representative of this great group of young Americans that are making a difference for their country and their Air Force. He's a part of the next greatest generation."

This member of the "next greatest generation" is just one of Kadena's many enlisted aviators, ranging from cryptologic operators like Sergeant Ouchi, to boom operators, loadmasters and a host of other specialties. These specialties, Colonel Coyne said "allow us to project critical Air Force combat capabilities across the spectrum of conflict."

Colonel Coyne said that having an NCO like Sergeant Ouchi under his command reminds him to be the best he can be as well.

"It is inspiring and makes me feel extremely proud," the colonel said. "Having one of my aircrew win this prestigious award makes me want to be a better Airman because it reminds me of the awesome responsibility I have toward my squadron and the critical mission they perform, both here in Pacific Command, as well as Central Command and part of the 55th Wing at Offutt AFB. There are many 'Staff Sergeant Ouchis' in my squadron and they deserve the best that I and the Air Force have to give."

The 390th IS's commander is not the only one who has noticed the caliber of people in his squadron. Sergeant Ouchi himself said the best part of his job is the people with whom he works.

"I think I have been fortunate to work with some of the smartest and most capable individuals in the military, both here at Kadena and downrange," he said. "I am grateful that I have been allowed the opportunity to experience this, and contribute in my small way to the overall mission."

Article by USAF 1st Lt. Bryan Bouchard
18th Wing Public Affairs
Copyright 2009

Reprinted from Air Force News Service

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