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Medical group 'tip-of-the-spear force'

Members of the 157th Medical Group’s Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear High Yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) pose for a photo, Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H., November 5, 2011.  (National Guard photo illustration  by Staff Sgt. Curtis J. Lenz/RELEASED)

Members of the 157th Medical Group’s Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear High Yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) pose for a photo, Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H., November 5, 2011. (National Guard photo illustration by Staff Sgt. Curtis J. Lenz/RELEASED)

PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H. - -- The 157th Medical Group and three of its personnel were recognized in front of more than 900 fellow guardsman from across the medical career field earlier this summer by winning national level awards for outstanding performance in 2011.   Senior Airman Amanda Nicholson, Maj. Philip Plourde and Lt. Col. Patrick Racz were recognized at Readiness Frontier 2012, a two-week medical training conference held in Jacksonville Florida in June.

Nicholson, the daughter of Chief Master Sgt. Bruce Nicolson, was awarded the Outstanding Base Bioenvironmental Engineering Airman of the Year award. This award recognizes outstanding achievement and significant contributions in the bioenvironmental career field.  Nicholson assisted in the standup of the new Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear High Yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) medical mission. In August 2011, she managed the Base Bioenvironmental Engineering Operations which was a success. Additionally, Nicholson's expertise in Wet Bulb Globe Thermometer ensured proper work rest cycles for deployed members during extreme heat.

Plourde was awarded the prestigious Brig. Gen. Donald B. Wagner Administrative Excellence Award. This award was established in honor of the former chief of the medical service corps to recognize officers from either the Air Force Reserve Command or the Air National Guard who make outstanding administrative contributions to the medical service corps.
Plourde orchestrated the standup of the New England CERFP medical element in record time. He recruited 39 medically proficient staff members to fill 47 CERFP slots. Additionally, Plourde led the total force integration summit hosted by Maj. Gen. Alardice.

Lt. Col. Patrick Racz won the Air National Guard Outstanding Dental Officer of the Year award. This award recognizes and rewards outstanding individual performance of duty and achievement of Air Force Dental Service members.  Racz helped ensure an all-time high dental readiness within the New Hampshire Air National Guard. He increased the wing's deployable personnel from 92-percent to 97-percent, which ranks sixth in the nation. Racz also integrated a corporate dental application computer program that resulted in a paperless process for the medical group.

The 157th Medical Group won the Theodore Marrs Award and Lt. Gen. George Schaeffer Trophy in recognition of outstanding medical readiness. Schaeffer was formerly the surgeon general of the Air Force retiring in 1978. Marrs served in the Air Force Reserve as a medical officer and also served as a special assistant to the surgeon general.  The medical group was recognized for being at the cutting edge of medical units in the Air National Guard. Many of the accolades pertain to having a high proficiency and readiness rating among wings throughout the Air National Guard.

As a whole, the medical group placed consistently in the top ten-percent medically and dentally throughout the Air National Guard, with high ratings of 97-percent or higher in immunizations, flu, dental, and laboratory.
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