Last Friday, the Alexandria based Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance launched the inaugural European Defender of the Year award ceremony in Germany. The event was held on the 65th anniversary of the founding of NATO in 1949. The award ceremony is one of several done around the world for the differing branches and regions that run our missile defense systems. MDAA was founded back in 2002 by Riki Ellison who is one of the top lay experts in the field of missile defense in the world today.
The winners, selected by their commanding officers and countries as their best Missile Defender of the Year 2014 are:
Lieutenant Colonel Edwin de Boer
The selection from Netherlands, LTC de Boer is the Current Chief of Operations of the NATO Ballistic Missile Defense Operations Center Headquarters in Ramstein, Germany. He was introduced by Air Commodore Tom De Bok of the Royal Netherlands Air Force and Assistant Director of the Transformation Joint Air Power Competence Centre, Kalkar, Germany.
Lieutenant Colonel Gurkan Costur
The selection from Turkey, LTC Costur is the first Voluntary National Contributor from Turkey to support Ballistic Missile Defense at NATO's Allied Air Command HQ. He was presented by Brigadier General Hakam Evrim of the Turkish Army, currently Deputy Chief of Staff of the NATO Air Command Headquarters.
Mr. Kenneth Dustin
The selection from the United States Air Force Europe, Mr. Dustin is the Senior Ballistic Missile Defense Program Analyst at the United States Air Force Europe and Africa's 603rd Air and Space Operations Center located at Ramstien Air Base, Germany. He was presented by Untied States Air Force Lieutenant General Noel T. "Tom" Jones, the Vice Commander of the. U.S. Air Force Europe and Africa Air Force.
Lieutenant Michael Laich
The selection from the United States Navy Europe, Lt. Laich was a crew member of a highly successful tour as a Systems Test Officer onboard the USS Barry (DDG 52) on a nine month Ballistic Missile Deployment to the COMSIXTHFLEET Area of Operations. He was presented by the Commander of the Destroyer Squadron 60 of 6th Fleet, Commodore James Aiken
Staff Sargent Enrique Martinez
The selection from the United States Army Europe, SSG Martinez is the Platoon Sergeant for Charlie Battery 5/7 Patriot Air Defense Battalion based in Kaiserslautern, Germany. He was presented by the Command Sergeant Major for the United States Army Europe, CSM David Davenport
Senior Master Sargent Thomas Tapken
The selection from Germany, SMSG Tapken is assigned to Air Missile Defense Group 26, Air Missile Defense Wing 1 of the German Air Force at Husum, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. During the last year he has been a vital member of the 2nd German contingent of the Active Fence Turkey Mission to September 2013. He was presented by Brigadier General Michael Gschossmann, Director of Ground-Based Operations for the German Air Force.
Other Distinguished Attendees:
Major General Charles Brown
Major General Carlton Everhart
Major General Erich Siegmann
Command Sergeant Major James Ross
Mr. Peter Woodmansee
Mr. Alan Burke
Command Sergeant Major Harold Lincoln
Colonel Gregory Brady
Sergeant Major David Poehlein
This marks MDAA's 10th Missile Defender of the Year event that we have held around the world, and the first in Europe. It also marks the first international with military services from four countries represented.
Source: Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance