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Pease Legal Duo Recognized for Excellence

  • Published
  • By SMSgt. Timothy Huffman
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing

Two members of the 157th Air Refueling Wing Staff Judge Advocate team recently received major command recognition for their dedication to excellence.

Capt. Andrew Lizotte, the wing deputy staff judge advocate and chief of legal assistance, and Senior Airman Anna Arnold, wing paralegal, were recognized as the Air Mobility Command 2021 Outstanding Air National Guard Judge Advocate and Paralegal of the Quarter for third quarter.

Lizotte, who is a federal prosecutor in Maine when he is not on duty, was recognized for his solution-focused approach to creating a new legal clinic to help nearly 150 deploying Airmen draft and execute estate planning documents as part of their out-processing requirements. He also played an instrumental role in supporting Airmen throughout the various surges in support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as during the 2021 Thunder Over New Hampshire Air Show.

Having joined the service in 2017 with no past exposure to military life, Lizotte said it has been a great journey and achieving excellence has required striking a balance between demanding civilian and military careers. The award affirms that he has succeeded in finding that balance.

He said his military role has been an opportunity to expand his skillset, as he is able to perform legal defense work and serve as an advisor to leadership, things he has not gotten exposure to during his eight years as a prosecutor.

Arnold was recognized for her contributions to recent key legal events, including training extra support for the Thunder Over New Hampshire Airshow, the first held at the wing in 10 years. She also served as recorder’s assistant at a recent administrative discharge board, worked multiple legal assistance clinics, drafted more than 100 estate documents for wing members going on deployment, and regularly sings the National Anthem at wing public events.

She is a part-time technician at the wing, working at the base three days per week in addition to her monthly drill weekend. When she is not at base, Arnold studies philosophy at the University of New Hampshire, where she is a junior. She said being a paralegal while going to school offers her the opportunity to reinforce the critical thinking skills she learns in the classroom.

When reflecting on the recognition, Arnold recalled a lesson she learned during her paralegal training.

“Being a paralegal means you have to be beyond reproach, you need to be the best of the best,” she said. “That’s what I try to do.”

The award came as a surprise to both Arnold and Lizotte, as Lt. Col. Natalie Friedenthal, the wing staff judge advocate, did not tell them that she had nominated them.

“Lt. Col. Friedenthal loves surprising people and I love to be surprised,” said Arnold.

Lizotte said it was nice to receive a positive surprise in a profession where they are rarely a good sign.

Friedenthal said receiving a major command level award is a big deal and provides a measurement for how her people are performing within the command and the Air Force.

“They work so hard and it’s important to make sure they are recognized,” she said.