Honoring the best of 2015

All 13 top award winners stand with Col. Ben Maitre, 27th SOW commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Randy Scanlan, 27th SOW command chief, after individually receiving their annual award trophy Feb. 19, 2016, at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. The 13 members of Team Cannon represent the best of 2015 in the categories of: airman; noncommissioned officer;  senior NCO; company grade officer; field grade officer; additional duty first sergeant; first sergeant; civilian categories I, II and III; key spouse; honor guardsman; and volunteer of the year. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons)

All 13 top award winners stand with Col. Ben Maitre, 27th SOW commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Randy Scanlan, 27th SOW command chief, after individually receiving their annual award trophy Feb. 19, 2016, at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. The 13 members of Team Cannon represent the best of 2015 in the categories of: airman; noncommissioned officer; senior NCO; company grade officer; field grade officer; additional duty first sergeant; first sergeant; civilian categories I, II and III; key spouse; honor guardsman; and volunteer of the year. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons)

Annual award medallions sit atop a table in the Landing Zone during the annual awards banquet Feb. 19, 2016, at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. This year’s ceremony paid tribute to distinguished men and women of the 27th Special Operations Wing for their outstanding leadership and service throughout 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons)

Annual award medallions sit atop a table in the Landing Zone during the annual awards banquet Feb. 19, 2016, at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. This year’s ceremony paid tribute to distinguished men and women of the 27th Special Operations Wing for their outstanding leadership and service throughout 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons)

Members of the Cannon honor guard set a table honoring Americas who are still missing in action during the annual awards banquet Feb. 19, 2016, at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. This table is ceremoniously set to show that Americans shall never forget the brave men and women who answered our nation’s call and served the cause of freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons)

Members of the Cannon honor guard set a table honoring Americas who are still missing in action during the annual awards banquet Feb. 19, 2016, at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. This table is ceremoniously set to show that Americans shall never forget the brave men and women who answered our nation’s call and served the cause of freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- This year’s annual awards ceremony, held at the Landing Zone Feb. 19, paid tribute to distinguished men and women of the 27th Special Operations Wing for their outstanding leadership and service throughout 2015.

A special medallion ceremony was conducted prior to social hour, where Col. Ben Maitre, 27th SOW commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Randy Scanlan, 27th SOW command chief, presented all nominees with distinguishing neckwear – a symbol of recognition as Cannon’s finest.

The social event culminated with the commander and command chief presenting final awards to last year’s top performers. Of the 50 nominees, 13 had the privilege to walk across the main stage to claim their prestigious awards.

The following members of Team Cannon were recognized for their contributions to the wing’s on-going mission:

Airman of the Year: Staff Sgt. Aisha Melendez, 27th Special Operations Comptroller Squadron
Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Nathaniel Reed III, 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron
Senior NCO of the Year: Master Sgt. Brent Goebel, 16th Special Operations Squadron
Company Grade Officer of the Year: Capt. Ryan Perhala, 33rd Special Operations Squadron
Field Grade Officer of the Year: Maj. Andrew Cobb, 27th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
First Sergeant of the Year: Master Sgt. Whitfield Jack, 27th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Additional Duty First Sgt. of the Year: Master Sgt. Anthony Wiltshire, 27th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Civilian Category I of the Year: Antoinette Nelson, 27th Special Operations Medical Support Squadron
Civilian CAT II of the Year: James Pautler, 27th Special Operations Air Operations Squadron
Civilian CAT III of the Year: William Wright, 27th Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron
Key Spouse of the Year: Kristine Dunning, 318th Special Operations Squadron
Volunteer of the Year: Staff Sgt. Kevin Black, 27th Special Operations Communications Squadron
Honor Guardsman of the Year: Senior Airman Trevor Goodwin, 27th Special Operations Force Support Squadron


“Tonight we highlight some of your incredible accomplishments over this past year,” said Maitre. “In 2015, we saw the retirement of one of our command’s most lethal assets, the AC-130H Spectre gunship, and combined the 16th and 73rd Special Operations Squadrons into single unit that continues to honor their legacy in today’s fight. We also deployed several thousand Air Commandos to over 15 countries in support of our national defense and warfighting efforts. We have seen the new face of Cannon Family Housing and dorm facilities for our unaccompanied airmen, along with renovations to our Drop Zone that now includes a sit-down eating establishment, all geared toward creating an environment for our Airmen and families to thrive.”

The commander and command chief also noted the success of last year’s EMT Rodeo which gathered 21 teams from 22 installations around the world for friendly competition and display of medical skills. They also touched on the base’s 2015 Cannon Appreciation Day and Open House that included static displays, a band showcase and a performance by Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band.

“This past year is a reflection of the excellence we are here to recognize tonight,” Maitre said. “The Air Commandos we honor this evening exemplify the execution of specialized airpower from this premier installation. We are here to recognize your contributions to the mission; thank you all for what you do today, and for what you will do tomorrow.”