Kentucky National Guard Honors Outstanding Soldiers and Airmen of the Year

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Photos and Story by Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Kentucky National Guard honored the top Kentucky National Guardsmen of 2011 at the Outstanding Soldier and Airman of the Year Banquet March 12.

The banquet highlights the top enlisted Guardsmen for the Army and Air.

The 2011 Outstanding Soldiers and Airmen are:

  • Senior noncommissioned officer: 1st Sgt. Christopher Morgan, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry (Army)
  • Noncommissioned officer: Staff Sgt. Jess Willard, Alpha Company, 149th Brigade Support Battalion (Army)
  • Soldier: Spc. Kelly Burch, 1123rd Sapper Company, 206th Engineer Battalion (Army)
  • Senior noncommissioned officer: Master Sgt. Gary M. Peletier, 123rd Special Tactics Squadron (Air)
  • Noncommissioned officer: Staff Sgt. Jeff G. Kinlaw, 123rd Special Tactics Squadron (Air)
  • Airman: Senior Airman April Kennedy, 123rd Logistics Readiness Squadron (Air)

Each of the award recipients competed against others at the unit and higher echelon levels before winning the state-level competition held last fall. Each winner received a Kentucky Enlisted Exceptional Performance award during the ceremony.

“This banquet highlights the Kentucky National Guard’s joint efforts and showcases the partnership between our Army and Air brethren,” said Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini. “Furthermore, it celebrates the enlisted personnel who are truly the backbone of this organization.”

The Kentucky National Guard's 2011 Soldiers of the Year, Spc. Kelly Burch, Staff Sgt. Jess Willard and 1st Sgt. Chris Morgan display their Kentucky Enlisted Exceptional Performance awards at the Outstanding Soldier and Airmen of the Year banquet March 12 in Louisville, Ky. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Dennis Flora)

The Kentucky Air National Guard's 2011 Airmen of the Year, Master Sgt. Gary Pelletier, Staff Sgt. Jeff Kinlaw and Senior Airman April Kennedy display their Kentucky Enlisted Exceptional Performance awards at the Outstanding Soldier and Airmen of the Year banquet March 12 in Louisville, Ky. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Dennis Flora)

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