N.D. Air National Guard conducts ‘Outstanding Airmen of the Year’ Banquet

  • Published
  • By Capt Penny Ripperger
  • 119th Wing Public Affairs
The 119th Wing, N.D. Air National Guard celebrated its Outstanding Airman of the Year Banquet tonight on Jan. 17th at the Courtyard by Marriot in Moorhead, Minn.

The OAY banquet is an annual celebration honoring the best of the best of the enlisted force in the North Dakota Air National Guard. Supervisors nominate Airmen based on criteria focusing on the airman's exceptional service in the military and community involvement.

Out of 12 nominees, only three Airmen take home a title of 'Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year', 'Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year' and 'Airman of the year' for 2008.

Master Sgt. Robert J. Vorce, Fosston, Minn., was awarded 'Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year.'

Staff Sgt. Brian Erdmann, West Fargo, N.D., was awarded 'Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year.'

Senior Airman Theta Olson, Fargo, was awarded 'Airman of the Year.'

In addition, Master Sgt. Duane Kangas, Moorhead, Minn., was awarded 'First Sergeant of the Year and Staff Sgt. Jessica Green, Moorhead, Minn., was awarded the 'Unit Career Advisor of the Year' for the 119th Wing.

Two distinguished visitors with North Dakota roots attended the banquet.

Maj.Gen. Terry L. Scherling was the guest speaker. A native of Davenport, N.D., she serves as the Special Assistant to the Chief of the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Va.

Scherling enlisted with the Happy Hooligans in 1975, graduated from North Dakota State University in 1977 and served in the North Dakota Air National Guard until she moved to Washington D.C. in 1994. Scherling is the only female with the rank of major general to begin her military career in the North Dakota Air National Guard.

Chief Master Sgt. James Clemenson also attended the banquet. He is a native of Horace and Kindred, N.D. and serves as the Senior Enlisted Manager of the National Guard Bureau Joint Staff in Alexandria, Va.

Clemenson, a well-known and respected Happy Hooligan at the 119th Wing, is also known Air Force-wide as being the only enlisted Viet Nam Veteran currently serving on active duty in the Air Force.

Clemenson escorted his daughter in-law, Leah Clemenson, at the banquet in support of his son, Master Sgt. Erik Clemenson, 119th Wing member and nominee for 'Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year.' Erik is currently at training in preparation for a six-month deployment to Iraq in February.

For more information about this press release, please contact Capt. Penny Ripperger, 119th Wing Public Affairs Officer, at 701-451-2194