AFOSI Officer named Sijan award winner

Air Force officials recently recognized four Airmen with the service's 2009 Lance P. Sijan Air Force Leadership Award. The Sijan award annually recognizes Airmen who demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

Air Force officials recently recognized four Airmen with the service's 2009 Lance P. Sijan Air Force Leadership Award. The Sijan award annually recognizes Airmen who demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Air Force officials have recognized four Airmen with the service's 2009 Lance P. Sijan Air Force Leadership Award.

The Sijan award annually recognizes Airmen who demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities.

Special Agent (Capt.) Rachel M. Phillips, who is assigned to Sembach Annex, Germany, is the junior officer category winner. Special Agent Phillips expertly developed, planned and executed robust strategic-level counter-intelligence operations to neutralize hostile intelligence and terrorist groups. During her last deployment, Special Agent Phillips led more than 50 missions into hostile territory in Afghanistan, which resulted in the elimination of seven Taliban leaders from the battlefield.

The senior officer category winner is Lt. Col. Roger A. Sherman, who is assigned to Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. While deployed as an electronic warfare officer, Colonel Sherman expertly led the 82nd Airborne Division's first electronic attack missions in Iraq against enemy command. Additionally, he controlled and detected early warning networks that led to the prevention of five rocket attacks against coalition forces. He also developed the 3-73 Cavalry Squadron's targeting process, which resulted in the capture or killing of seven of the squadron's "Top 10" list and the seizure of dozens of weapon caches.

The senior enlisted category winner is Senior Master Sgt. Jesse D. Schraner, a vehicle operations superintendent assigned to Hurlburt Field, Fla. While deployed, he led 223 convoy missions in Iraq and Kuwait that safely transported some 300,000 tons of supplies over four million miles, which provided war-making and life-giving material to 100,000 warfighters. He also prevented battlefield complacency through hands-on leadership, which resulted in no Airmen killed or wounded, despite 17 small-arms insurgent attacks.

The junior enlisted category winner is Staff Sgt. Gino P. Kahaunaele, who is assigned to Pope Air Force Base, N.C. As a special operations force pararescueman, Sergeant Kahaunaele's heroism and bravery in the midst of direct and accurate enemy fire resulted in eight American lives being saved. Additionally, Sergeant Kahaunaele led a combat search and rescue team through 45 combat sorties over the world's most hostile terrain.

The Lance P. Sijan award was first presented in 1981. It is named in honor of the first U.S. Air Force Academy graduate to receive the Medal of Honor. Captain Sijan was shot down over Vietnam on Nov. 9, 1967, and evaded capture for 45 days despite severe injuries. He later died while in a Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp and was presented the Medal of Honor posthumously for his heroism.

The awards will be presented to this year's recipients at a later date.