WADS Receives Organizational Excellence Award

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Story & photo by Maj Herb Porter

The Western Air Defense Sector (WADS) McChord AFB, Tacoma, WA, recently celebrated another milestone in its illustrious career as it was awarded the WADS_Med1998 Air Force Organizational Excellence Award. Being one of only eight Air National Guard units to win such a coveted honor, the members of the WADS proved once again that the Air National Guard is truly a world class organization.

Maj General. Paul A. Weaver Jr., Director of the Air National Guard, congratulated the sector on such a prestigious award. “The competition was extremely keen,” he stated, “and the winner is commended for having been selected from an outstanding group of nominees. The dedication….of the members of this unit enables the Air National Guard to fulfill its commitment to the missions of peacekeeping, humanitarian relief, domestic improvement, and most important of all, the defense of America”.


Similarly, Colonel John L. Cromwell, WADS Commander, added his accolades, further praising the sector’s men and women. “The WADS has uniquely distinguished itself with exceptional service in support of the Air Force, the Air National Guard, the state of Washington, and the local community.

Col Cromwell added, “We have developed an outstanding reputation from the primary customers at the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the joint community in general, for our service support, technical innovation, and overall commitment to excellence. I am really proud of our people…they truly deserve this honor.”

The Commander of the Washington Air National Guard, also lauded WADS’ accomplishments. Maj General Frank Scoggins stated: “In dozens of major exercises, the unit has been lauded with praise, congratulations, and compliments from major command commanders, inspectors general, civilian drug enforcement officials, and sister service senior leaders”. General Scoggins further added: “The sector sets the standard for continuous volunteerism and its outstanding support for real-world air defense missions.”

The sector is the Air National Guard organization responsible for the air sovereignty of the western 63% of the continental United States. More than 300 Washington Air National Guard members at WADS have operational control of fighters on continuous alert, keeping track of 1.9 million square miles of airspace, from Texas to the Pacific Coast, across to North Dakota. WADS works directly with three alert bases, where pilots wait for the call to identify unknown aircraft that could be a threat to the nation’s air sovereignty. In the award-judging period from May 15, 1996 to May 14, 1998, the sector “scrambled” jets 129 times to identify these “unknown riders”. The WADS scrambled jets another 42 times against potential and actual drug smugglers to support the Domestic Air Interdiction Coordination Center and U.S. Drug Enforcement agencies.

To hone its air sovereignty skills, the sector participated in numerous deployments and exercises during the judging period, including the Felix SPADE – Simulated Penetration Air Defense Exercises — program. During SPADE, the sector practiced 46 live no-notice airspace penetrations. The exercise tested WADS’ ability to detect, intercept, and identify a simulated unknown aircraft trying to violate national sovereignty. The sector was 100 % successful. These exercises paid off in the real world, according to Colonel Cromwell. The sector assisted civilian law enforcement agencies in their arrests of drug smugglers and the seizures of more than 900 kilos of marijuana and 400 kilos of cocaine worth more than $140 million. It also deployed mission-ready personnel for command and control duties to Croatia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Central and South America. Further proof of the sector’s excellence was demonstrated during its most recent operational inspection. WADS achieved the highest rating possible given by the Office of the Air Force Inspector General during its most recent Organizational Readiness Inspection (ORI).

WADS Airman Selected as Airman of the Year

Air Guard Outstanding Airman Of The Year For 1998 Selected

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Story by Maj Herb Porter – Photo courtesy WADS

Subsequent to this article SSgt Moore went on to be selected as the top Airman for the entire Air Force (active and reserve component). Well done SSgt Moore!
MOOREThe Air National Guard recently selected Staff Sergeant Jay Moore, a Weapons Director Technician who serves with the Western Air Defense Sector (WADS), located on McChord Air Force Base, Tacoma WA, as its Outstanding Airman of the Year for 1998. SSgt Moore was select from amongst competing Air Guard Airmen and NCO’s from throughout the United States.

Staff Sergeant Moore joined the Washington Air National Guard in 1996 and was stationed at the Western Air Defense Sector at McChord AFB. Previously he had been assigned to Fort Lewis, WA as a Carpentry and Masonry Specialist with the 864th Engineer Battalion, having served in Desert Storm. He first enlisted in the military in 1986 in the Air Force Reserve, as a member of the 307th Red Horse Squadron. He was promoted to Staff Sergeant in December 1998.

To win such a prestigious honor, Sergeant Moore consistently demonstrated extraordinary performance in many diverse jobs, fulfilling a wide variety of responsibilities, while supporting the WADS air defense mission. He was the only airman who was qualified as a WDT consistently excelling at coordinating with air traffic control agencies for transferring aircraft control responsibility and conducting effective intercept missions. Sergeant Moore further demonstrated his outstanding operational expertise by timely coordination and superb situational awareness during several WADS evaluation exercises. In addition, he exceeded Air Combat Command’s Graduated Combat Capability standards by over 600%, completing more intercept training missions that 92% of any other WDT in the sector this year. And on top of that, Sergeant Moore is only one of three airmen qualified on two operational duty sections, maintaining a second qualification as a Tracking Technician, responsible for detecting and tracking airborne objects within the WADS 1.9 million miles of airspace.

Being the Air National Guard’s top airman is quite an accomplishment. Many echoed that sentiment upon learning of his selection for such an honor. Former State Command Chief Master Sergeant Marvin King aptly summarized it. “To have SSgt Moore recognized as the most outstanding airman in the entire Air National Guard is a tribute, not only to him, but to all the enlisted men and women of the Washington Air National Guard”. He further added, “It is also a tribute to the outstanding leadership at WADS which fosters and environment that reflects the Air Force core values. I personally salute Sergeant Moore on his achievements and I thank him for being the kind of person who will be a model airman for our future”. Another accolade of praise came from Sergeant Moore’s flight superintendent, Senior Master Sergeant Dave Gorham; “Sergeant Moore is constantly hungry. He is always looking for new challenges. I wish I had twenty more like him”.

When asked about his selection, joining such a unique circle of individuals, Sergeant Moore took it all in strive, saying: “It is a really good accomplishment for me. I am shooting for Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year next year”. In terms of other immediate goals, Sergeant Moore plans to also complete his Associate Degree in Criminal Justice. He is also the cornerstone of the Sector’s Honor Guard, having served as a member of the flag detail in numerous official functions. His dedication and enthusiasm is further evident by his support of unit and base intramural activities, including the WADS football and Over-30 basketball team.

As a result of his selection, Sergeant Moore will be the Air National Guard’s nominee for the Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year Competition. He was also the Washington Air National Guard’s Airman of the Year and the WADS Airman of The Quarter for 1998.

Additional WADS Articles: 50th Anniversary & Organizational Excellence Award