NORAD, USNORTHCOM Honor Quarter’s Best

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | May 19, 2005

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - The North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command recognized its top performers for January through March 2005 during a quarterly awards ceremony May 9.

NORAD Deputy Commander Lt. Gen. Rick Findley presented the NORAD awards and USNORTHCOM Deputy Commander Lt. Gen. Joseph Inge presented the USNORTHCOM awards.

The NORAD winners are:

-- Lt. Kevin J. Smith, Directorate of Architecture and Integration, company grade officer;

-- Senior Master Sgt. Vernon L. Thompson, Directorate of Operations, senior non-commissioned officer;

-- Tech. Sgt. Robert D. Rodgers, Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center Directorate of Architecture and Integration, NCO; and

-- Senior Airman John Reeves, CMOC Directorate of Training and Exercise, junior enlisted.

The USNORTHCOM winners are:

-- Capt. Gwendolyn Kaegy, Office of the Command Surgeon, company grade officer;

-- Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Rangel, Office of the Inspector General, senior NCO;

-- Sgt. Stanley R. Wilson, Directorate of Intelligence, NCO; and

-- Senior Airman Andrew J. Roberts, Directorate of Intelligence, junior enlisted.

The NORAD-USNORTHCOM civilians of the quarter are:

-- Julie Thuis, Directorate of Intelligence, Category I; and

-- Kirk Brown, Directorate of Architecture and Integration, Category II.

Smith serves as the officer in charge of network security in the joint communications support center. He wrote and initiated staff coordination on command network administration and defense policy, significantly improving the quality of service and consistency of response to network security incidents. As the network security team lead, Smith was responsible for implementing heightened security practices throughout NORAD’s component units.

Thompson, the operations division superintendent, served as the point of contact for the $55M new combined operations center project. He identified 22 operational positions and 40 mission critical circuits. He also managed the crisis action team room and oversaw a $750,000 computer and intelligence upgrade. Outside the workplace, he delivers 20 meals weekly to the elderly through the Meals on Wheels Silver Key Program.

Rodgers, the deputy chief of the secure communications integration branch, orchestrated category-5 cabling and signal integrity for the new CMOC command center. As an emergency actions controller, Rodgers was the principle agent for conveying critical command and control message traffic to the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense. He maintained a 3.75 grade point average while simultaneously attending Pikes Peak Community College and DeVry University.

Reeves, the air simulation developer for the CMOC exercise branch, was recognized for his technical expertise for flawlessly executing all air media injects for five Amalgam Falcon Exercises. He maintained a dual-qualification in two of four air warning center operational positions while maintaining his primary duties as a simulation developer. Reeves is one of only four certified trainers for the common operational picture manager – a critical position that ensures the fidelity of the air picture. He has completed more than 75 semester hours toward a bachelor’s degree at Pikes Peak Community College.

Kaegy is the executive officer to the command surgeon. In addition to her primary role, she expertly managed 23 additional duties, enabling the medical plans and operations staff to remain focused on its Global War on Terrorism efforts. Her duties included program budget advisor, security manager, quality assurance monitor, unit fitness monitor for the command staff and antiterrorism force protection level two educator.

Rangel, the senior U.S. noncommissioned officer assigned to the NORAD-USNORTHCOM inspector general team, was lauded for directly enhancing the physical security of the commands’ alert fighter response and, ultimately, homeland defense. He evaluates the physical security portion of unannounced evaluations at fighter bases in both the United States and Canada.

Wilson is a political-military analyst assigned to the Combined Intelligence Fusion Center’s Threat Assessment Team. He drafted NORAD-USNORTHCOM’s only intelligence assessment of foreign ground surveillance capabilities over critical border areas. Wilson also assisted command planners and law enforcement officials in posturing for defense of potential vulnerabilities. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and maintaining a 3.4 grade point average at Troy State University.

Roberts, a hardware technician assigned to the logistics and maintenance branch, was responsible for upgrading 225 secure telephone units. He performed inventory of all secure telephones and base-lined account information. Roberts identified and documented mission critical hardware requirements for the NORAD-USNORTHCOM intelligence system and upgraded equipment, helping to ensure successful homeland defense missions.

Thuis, a secretary assigned to the plans and policy division, rapidly emerged as the primary catalyst for information flow. She spearheaded the division’s successful efforts to solve significant information sharing issues and developed an evaluation tracking process that enables division leaders to forecast performance report due dates. Thuis’ efforts significantly enhanced the quality of division products through the education of key leaders and action officers on administrative and correspondence standards.

Brown, a software/hardware project manager, was recognized for his unique ability to effectively prioritize information technology requests for client software and hardware requirements, equipment site surveys, and new user setup. He reviewed more than2,500 information technology submissions, ensuring requests were completed and customers were mission-ready. Brown also streamlined the software approval process by implementing electronic staff coordination and nation process reducing approval time.