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NEWS | April 26, 2017

SC AFA names Charleston Reservist best in state

By Michael Dukes 315th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The South Carolina Chapter of the Air Force Association selected a 315th Airlift Wing aircraft maintainer as their 2017 South Carolina Air Force Person of the Year.

Tech. Sgt. Jason Colon, 315th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Joint Base Charleston, competed with representatives from South Carolina’s three Air Force & Air National Guard bases.

“Tech Sgt. Colon competed against some tough competition and it was an honor to present him with the AFA Person of the Year Award. Well Deserved,” said retired Senior Master Sgt. Linda Sturgeon, South Carolina AFA president.

Colon’s award package submission touts his numerous expert technical contributions to the 315th AW and Joint Base Charleston mission. His contributions were instrumental to the 315th AW earning the 4th Air Force Raincross trophy.

His contributions contributed to successful military operations including Exercise Anaconda, Operation Unified Response, Operation Enduring Freedom, presidential support missions, humanitarian and Drug Enforcement Missions.

“This award recognizes the strength of the Air Force Reserve at Joint Base Charleston,” said Col. Sharon Johnson, 315th Maintenance Group commander. “As part of a total force team, Tech. Sgt, Colon and his teammates - traditional Reservists, Air Reserve Technicians, civilians and active duty members - provide over 33 percent of the Air Mobility Command C-17 mission, with only 22 percent of the aircraft inventory.”

“Tech. Sgt. Colon is a mission generator - making sure that Joint Base Charleston's C-17 aircraft are ready to perform the nation's business, here in the states and overseas - at a moment's notice,” added Johnson. “His C-17 knowledge and talent are noteworthy in and of themselves however when coupled with his leadership strength and drive, he is an unstoppable force for great things within the 315th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.”

Colon’s fellow AMXS members consider him an invaluable member of the team.

“Tech Sgt. Jason Colon is an extremely hard working and determined individual,” said Chief Master Sgt. John Kornuta, 315th AMXS Gold Aircraft Maintenance Unit flight chief and ART. “Always willing to take on any task or share his knowledge and experience with others. It comes as no surprise to me that he was selected as the South Carolina, Air Force Association Person of the Year.”

The South Carolina State AFA holds the State Convention each year rotating between the four chapters. This year the Strom Thurmond Chapter hosted the event April 22, in Anderson, S.C. The state sends out nomination criteria to the three bases Sumter, Charleston and McEntire Joint National Guard Base in Columbia, S.C. All Junior Reserve Officer Training Cadets, ROTC and State Civil Air Patrol in Columbia also complete nomination packages in their categories.

The categories for the bases are Squadron of the Year, Aviator, Maintenance Technician, Logistics and Mission Support Person of the Year. Each base sends in the nominations for their wings. A Chapter Person of the Year is determined from these categories. From these three nominations, the State Person of the Year is then awarded.

“There are over 30 top candidates over the state in all the above categories that the winner is chosen from,” Sturgeon said. Each nomination is a winner in his/her own right and the competition is steep. We review fighter pilots, C17 pilots, members who have a state initiative only.

These winners are competing only at the state level.

“This something that the AFA State members created to recognize the outstanding Airmen of South Carolina. The winning JROTC unit is awarded a traveling Sword of Excellence, the ROTC Unit of the Year is recognized. The state Civil Air Patrol recognize the Senior Member of the Year, Junior Member of the Year and Outstanding Chapter,” Sturgeon added.