NEWS | Oct. 1, 2021

Four JBAB Airmen nominated for 2021 Sijan Leadership Awards

By Benjamin Matwey, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Public Affairs

The 11th Wing nominated four of its Airmen for the 2021 Lance P. Sijan United States Air Force Leadership Award, sending each to compete at the Air Force District of Washington direct-reporting unit and major command level.

The award's namesake, Sijan, ejected from his military aircraft over Vietnam Nov. 9, 1967, died in captivity Jan. 22, 1968, and was posthumously awarded the Air Force Medal of Honor for his extraordinary heroism and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty at the cost of his life.

Each year, one senior officer, one junior officer, one senior enlisted and one junior enlisted member earns the award for exceptional leadership traits in mission accomplishment or overcoming unique problems and emergencies, ability to inspire others and demonstrate eagerness to assist in goal accomplishment, and involvement in their local community.

Senior Officer category

Maj. Ruben R. Arredondo, 11th Contracting Squadron commander, led his team of contracting professionals through the Defense Department's first-ever joint base service lead transfer in 2020 at JBAB as the Air Force took command of the installation from the U.S. Navy.

He led the wing's largest end-of-year spending period in 40 years by managing the award of 28 projects valued at $7 million, garnering $2.4 million in savings within the first two months of the squadron's activation. His leadership has ensured support to approximately 70 key mission partners on JBAB.

Arredondo mentored his unit and ensured the execution of numerous wing-wide events that impacted members within the JBAB community. He organized critical quality-of-life events for his squadron and their family members to improve morale and welfare during the inaugural year of the wing's existence.

"Commanding my contracting squadron through initial operating capability has been a complex process that has required me to empower, evaluate and trust my workforce more so than at any other time in my career," said Arredondo. "The responsibility of allocating my limited resources to meet the critical needs of key mission partners during this transitory period has been an enormous challenge that truly tested my skill as a leader. This Sijan nomination is a direct result of my squadron's ability to rise to the occasion to exceed expectations in efforts to ensure our wing's readiness."

Junior Officer category

Capt. Brian Johnson, The United States Air Force Honor Guard Operations Flight commander, served two higher headquarters of Pacific Air Forces and then the Air Force District of Washington during the annual Sijan award period.

At JBAB, he oversees honor guard ceremonial programs to include parades, special events and funerals while establishing foundational processes for future joint operations. He guided more than 200 honor guard details to complete 800 funerals despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

He was a wing mentor, teaching the First Term Airmen Center enlisted-to-commissioning panel, and facilitated the wing suicide awareness program by leading an awareness activity for 32 members. 

While serving as 747th Communications Squadron operations commander, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, he led several communications initiatives and programs. His efforts improved missile defense response times and delivered key telecommunications capabilities to the warfighter.

He received the Air Force General John P. Jumper Award for Excellence in Warfighting Integration, which recognizes individuals for sustained superior performance and outstanding contributions to the integration of the Air Force warfighting and operations support capabilities.

His team was awarded the Air Force General Edwin W. Rawlings Team Award for synching 11 bases and readying the network for an intercontinental ballistic missile live-fire test. The Rawlings award recognizes teams that provide significant improvement in communications and information support to the Air Force and Department of Defense missions and operations.

"Captain Johnson is the type of leader that takes care of people and gets the mission accomplished. He has extraordinary courage and a devout willingness to serve others, even knowing that he may not be in the limelight," said Maj. Justin Boyd, The United States Air Force Honor Guard director of operations and Johnson's supervisor. "Brian is an amazing leader, and one that I am truly honored to serve by his side."

Senior Enlisted category

Master Sgt. Kade Forrester, 11th Contracting Squadron Infrastructure Flight section chief, was the sole contracting senior NCO within the Air Force District of Washington to be a section chief over two flights.

He stood up the base's government purchase card program during the JBAB lead-service transfer, establishing 143 accounts resulting in more than $2 million in spending in the first months. Additionally, he managed 28 awarded projects valued at $7 million, garnering $2.4 million in savings.

He was the 11th CONS Senior NCO of the Year, and a three-time squadron senior NCO of the quarter.

He served as squadron superintendent and first sergeant for one month, led the Plans and Programs Flight for five months, and filled three leadership positions during the absence of key leaders.

He led eight base emergency requirements totaling $549,000 to fund the repair of facilities to fully mission capable status.

He organized the wing's annual awards ceremony and led the 20-member committee that developed the concept for a safe event despite the pandemic.

He led the First Sergeant Council fundraiser, volunteered 28 hours, and managed 42 shifts with 76 volunteers who helped raise $6,400 for Operation Warm Heart. Warm Heart is a program operated by the First Sergeant Councils of Joint Base Andrews and JBAB that performs acts of kindness for base members and their families.

Senior Master Sgt. Dean Garrison, 11th CONS superintendent, said Forrester exhibits just what you need in a senior NCO.

"He is not afraid to get his hands dirty and, most importantly, he leads by example. The Air Force is in good hands with a leader like Master Sergeant Forrester," he said.

Junior Enlisted category

Master Sgt. Timothy Boggess, 11th Security Forces Squadron flight chief, led 54 military and Department of the Air Force Security Forces Defenders at JBAB. He performed law enforcement, force protection and base security operations, and directed joint service support protection for 70 mission partners and $7.5 billion in assets.

Boggess served as the NCO in charge of logistics and resources at the 435th Security Forces Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, Germany. While there, he managed a $1.8 million budget, $46.3 million in assets, and eight unit type codes. He led 12 team members from three Air Force career fields to support the United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa's largest airborne program and premier security forces readiness training center.

His squadron earned the 2020 435th Air Ground Operations Wing Outstanding Security Team of the Year award and the 2020 Air Force Best Small Security Forces Unit of the Year.

He developed the squadron Professional Development Placemats program, which enabled 64 Airmen to visually map out their local career progression from the ranks of airman to technical sergeant, helping them reach important milestones.

He co-led the 11th SFS discussion of extremism in the ranks, educating 91 members while helping to build morale and foster cohesion during the DoD-wide stand down in February.

While off duty, Boggess responded to a motor vehicle accident, risking his life pulling a driver from a burning vehicle, and was awarded an Air Force Achievement Medal for his actions.

"Hands down, the most significant contribution I've had has been the opportunity to lead, mentor and develop the exceptional Airmen and Department of the Air Force personnel over the past year," said Boggess. "Without them, none of this would be possible.

"As a leader and mentor, seeing the significant accomplishments these members have made both personally and as a team, that's what it's all about," he said.

For more information about the Sijan United States Air Force Leadership Award, visit the Air Force Medal of Honor website, or the Air Force Personnel Center website.