High Performing Command Leaders Awarded

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Four servicemembers and civilians were recognized during the inaugural NORAD and U.S. Northern Command Missile Warning Professional and Defender of the Year ceremony and award dinner May 3 in Colorado Springs.

The awards, sponsored by the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, recognize and honor the contributions and achievements of military servicemembers and civilians who work on or in support of missile warning and defense systems. The winners exhibit the highest levels of leadership and personal effort and demonstrate a commitment to excellence in their critical roles in defending the homeland.

This year's recipients are: Air Force Lt. Col. Derek Geeskie, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Douglas Pegher, and Department of Defense Civilian Steven Piel. Ernie Stern, recently retired from federal work, was also recognized with a Missile Defense Career Achievement Award for more than 47 years of service to the nation.

“This is a great honor. I didn’t expect this at all,” remarked Stern. “The past years have been an exciting ride for me. Thanks for including me as part of the legacy of the missile defense system.”

"These individuals represent our nation’s best in leadership and personal effort,” said Riki Ellison, chairman and founder of the MDAA. Their dedication, hard work, and effort are an inspiration to all. We are delighted to be able to recognize these individuals for their achievements in defense of our homeland.”

The MDAA is a non-profit, non-partisan organization focused on missile defense that works to educate the American public on critical issues in missile defense and advocates for continued development and deployment of missile defense systems to protect the nation and its citizens.