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Wheaton wins AFA award

Senior Master Sergeant Robert B. Wheaton, 157th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Flight Chief, was recently awarded the Chief Master Sergeant Dick Red Air Force Association Award as the top aircraft maintainer in the Air National Guard.

Senior Master Sergeant Robert B. Wheaton, 157th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Flight Chief, was recently awarded the Chief Master Sergeant Dick Red Air Force Association Award as the top aircraft maintainer in the Air National Guard.

PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H. -- Senior Master Sgt. Robert B. Wheaton, 157th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron superintendent, was recently awarded the Chief Master Sgt. Dick Red Air Force Association Award as the top aircraft maintainer in the Air National Guard.

"SMSgt Wheaton is an exceptional leader, senior noncommissioned officer, and manager who continually delivers stellar results," wrote The Adjutant General of New Hampshire Maj. Gen. William N. Reddel III in a nomination memorandum that was submitted along with the award package. "He has been integral in the success of Total Force work centers within the 157th Maintenance Group at Pease Air National Guard Base by utilizing his professional, balanced approach with peers, subordinates, and leaders."

The general went on to highlight that Wheaton, "... is a tried-and-true subject matter expert and communicator," illustrated best by his being named an Inspector General Outstanding Performer during last year's Nuclear Operational Readiness Inspection.

Sergeant Wheaton's award citation noted several accomplishments over the award period, Jan. 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2013..

"Among the many achievements by Sergeant Wheaton was his ability to maintain mission-ready aircraft in support of Air Mobility Command, U.S. Strategic Command, Northeast Tanker Tank Force and National Guard Bureau directives and requirements," said Maj. Alex W. Bull, 157th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander. "He is an essential leader in the squadron and was pivotal in having more than 5,300 mishap-free flight hours in fiscal year 2013."

The award citation recognizes a nominee's leadership and job performance, significant self-improvements, military bearing and behavior, acceptance of responsibility, community relations activities, as well as any Air Force, Air National Guard or civilian awards, prizes and titles received.

Bull went on to highlight that Wheaton, a 23 year member of the N.H. Air National Guard, is a "linchpin for the wing's outstanding flying hour program.

"The 157th Air Refueling Wing KC-135 utilization rate was highest in the Air National Guard last year," he said. "Wheaton directly attributed to more than 1,000 sorties in fiscal year 2013."

In the community, Sergeant Wheaton was a driving force in coordinating the maintenance squadron's efforts during the Boston-Portsmouth Airshow that was attended by more than 70,000 people.

In addition, he taught and mentored active duty master sergeants on flight chief duties.

Chief Master Sgt. Dick Red was the first enlisted airman to win the Legion of Merit in 1944, for building a camera mount in the nose section of a P-38 Lightning fighter. The award honors his memory.

AFA began giving out the award in 1984 two years after Chief Master Sgt. Red's death.

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