WASHINGTON (4/9/2012) -- For demonstrating outstanding
leadership, four airmen received the 2011 Lance P. Sijan USAF
Leadership Award during a ceremony, April 6, in the Pentagon's Hall
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz presented the Lance P.
Sijan USAF Leadership Award to this year's recipients: (from left)
Maj. Laura DeJong, Capt Gilbert Wyche II, Senior Master Sgt. Timothy
Sterner and Tech. Sgt. Nathanael Hoag, during a ceremony in the
Pentagon's Hall of Heroes, April 6, 2012, Washington, D.C. 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
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
Maj. Laura DeJong, criminal investigations policy
and program manager for the Air Force Inspector General's Office
here; Capt. Gilbert Wyche, mobility and resources officer in charge
for the 48th Security Forces Squadron at Royal Air Force Lakenheath,
England; Senior Master Sgt. Timothy Sterner, command explosive
ordnance disposal superintendent for Pacific Air Forces at Joint
Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; and Tech. Sgt Nathaniel Hoag,
combat controller with the 24th Special Tactics Squadron at Pope
Field, N.C., were honored during the ceremony.
Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz hosted the event, lauding the
honorees during remarks to those attending.
these four outstanding
demonstrating the highest quality of leadership," Schwartz
said. "They continue to exemplify our core values of
integrity, service, and excellence, just as Lance Sijan did
not too many decades ago."
DeJong led a joint
21-person team overseeing 205 missions conducting offensive
counterintelligence in northern Iraq. Her accomplishments
led to her selection as the 8th Field Investigations
Region's Field Grade Officer of the Year and the Women in
Federal Law Enforcement Outstanding Federal Law Agent of the
Year for 2010.
Wyche took command of a perimeter
sector during a three-hour complex ground attack while
deployed to Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Despite being wounded by
an enemy hand grenade, he engaged 19 enemy forces with small
arms fire at close range.
Sterner expertly led EOD
teams in the successful completion of over 600 combat
missions while deployed. He managed over $20 million in
vehicles and equipment as his teams supported joint and
coalition forces across a 100-square-mile area in southern
Hoag controlled 384 aircraft in 64 combat operations in
support of Operation Enduring Freedom, resulting in the
death or capture of 133 enemy combatants. He also led an
eight-day close air support training course that tested new
tactics and technology, as well as certified 18 Airmen for
"You will note common threads that bind each
one of these four: devotion to duty, impeccable leadership
and, most importantly, the character that underwrites all
they do so they can offer America the highest standard of
performance and excellence," Schwartz said.
echoed the sentiments of the other award winners, saying he
was honored and humbled to receive the award.
award goes to my teammates," Hoag said. "I am here on their
behalf to receive it."
The Lance P. Sijan USAF
Leadership Award was first presented in 1981. During his
52nd combat mission, 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 Senior Airman Christina Brownlow
Air Force Public Affairs
Agency – Pentagon
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