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Military

By USAF MSgt. Amaani Lyle

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Air Force Honors 2010 Sijan Award Winners
(May 15, 2011)

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WASHINGTON (AFNS - 5/12/2011) -- For demonstrating outstanding leadership, four Airmen received the 2010 Lance P. Sijan USAF Leadership Award during a ceremony May 11 in the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes.

Named in honor of the first U.S. Air Force Academy graduate to receive the Medal of Honor, the award annually recognizes officer and enlisted honorees in senior and junior categories who best exemplify the service's core values of integrity, service and excellence.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and Janine Sijan Rozina flank this year's recipients of the 2010 Lance P. Sijan USAF Leadership Award during a ceremony May 11, 2011, in the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes. The recipients are (starting second from left) Lt. Col. Tony Millican, 1st Lt. Kathryn Miles, Senior Master Sgt. Brett Rogers and Staff Sgt. Michael Pereira. Ms. Rozina is the younger sister of the award's namesake. The Sijan Award was created in 1981 to recognize individuals who demonstrate the highest qualities of leadership both in and out of uniform. U.S. Air Force photo by Jim Varhegyi
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and Janine Sijan Rozina flank this year's recipients of the 2010 Lance P. Sijan USAF Leadership Award during a ceremony May 11, 2011, in the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes. The recipients are (starting second from left) Lt. Col. Tony Millican, 1st Lt. Kathryn Miles, Senior Master Sgt. Brett Rogers and Staff Sgt. Michael Pereira. Ms. Rozina is the younger sister of the award's namesake. The Sijan Award was created in 1981 to recognize individuals who demonstrate the highest qualities of leadership both in and out of uniform. U.S. Air Force photo by Jim Varhegyi
Lt. Col. Tony Millican, deputy commander of the 98th Mission Support Group at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.; 1st Lt. Kathryn Miles, chief of simplified acquisition of base requirements for the 56th Civil Engineer Squadron at Luke AFB, Ariz.; Senior Master Sgt. Brett Rogers, superintendent of the 377th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Branch at Kirtland AFB, N.M.; and Staff Sgt. Michael Pereira, an EOD craftsman at Eglin AFB, Fla., were honored during the ceremony.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz hosted the event and described in his remarks the similarities connecting the award recipients.

"There is devotion to duty, there is a sense of persistence, there is leadership and there is something inspirational in their stories," General Schwartz said. "These are all attributes that are vital to our Air Force, not just downrange, but in garrison as well, and they're vital because they ensure we remain trusted partners on the joint team."

The general emphasized the importance of the award's namesake and offered a special thanks to Captain Sijan's younger sister, Janine Sijan Rozina, who thanked the recipients and their families for carrying on the spirit of the award.

"The commitment that you have displayed, through the love and support of your family and listening to the passion in your heart, tells of your commitment to ... ethics, integrity and courage," Ms. Rozina said to the award recipients. "That's what makes you so unique."

While deployed, Colonel Millican successfully commanded 80 high-threat convoys. During the aftermath of a suicide vehicle attack, Colonel Millican commanded post-attack recovery actions, accounting for all of his 600 personnel, despite sustaining hearing damage and head trauma.

Lieutenant Miles served as an engineer for the Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan, where she was in charge of 36 capacity-building projects. She commanded a four-vehicle convoy that came under small-arms fire for more than 50 minutes.

Sergeant Rogers led 44 Airmen, completing more than 300 combat missions and defusing 35 improvised explosive devices. He also instructed Iraqi army and police bomb squad personnel so those agencies could assume the EOD mission in Kirkuk.

Sergeant Pereira led a three-person team over the course of a year in support of the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Stryker Brigade Combat Team, during Operation Opportunity Hold in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

The most meaningful part of receiving the award was the recognition he could bring to his team for their efforts, Sergeant Pereira said.

"My teammates were crucial," the junior enlisted recipient said. "In EOD, we work as a team supporting another larger team: Army battalions. Your teammates are your soul mates, your lifeline, your lifeblood. They're everything to you."

The Lance P. Sijan USAF Leadership Award was first presented in 1981. During his 52nd combat mission, Captain Sijan was shot down over Vietnam on Nov. 9, 1967, and evaded capture for 45 days despite severe injuries. He later died while in a North Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp. He posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his heroism.
By USAF MSgt. Amaani Lyle
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
Copyright 2011

Reprinted from Air Force News Service

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