Oklahoma guardsman is top graduate at Satellite NCOA

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Mavi Smith
  • The I.G. Brown Air National Guard Training and Education Center
A member of the Oklahoma Air National Guard was presented the John L. Levitow award for his accomplishments at the Satellite Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) Academy during the class graduation ceremony at The I.G. Brown Air National Guard Training and Education Center here, Dec. 15.

Tech. Sgt. Joseph D. Conell, an air transportation craftsman, with the 137th Air Refueling Wing at Will Rogers ANGB, Okla., was the top graduate of 130 NCOs who attended Class 10-2.

The John L. Levitow Award is the highest honor awarded a graduate of any Air Force enlisted professional military education course.

"I am absolutely blown away to receive this award," said Conell, who was also selected as a flight leader during the in-residence portion of the class. "It's a pretty incredible feeling because I know what it means."

The award is presented to the one student who not only demonstrates academic excellence, but also the outstanding attributes of leadership, enthusiasm, military bearing, and dedication to the spirit and mission of the total Air Force. It is based on objective testing, performance evaluations, demonstrated leadership, and student and instructor points.

"It meant a lot to me to see how happy everyone was for me," said Conell of walking past his fellow students from both the home station and in-residence phases of the course to receive his award.

The Satellite NCO Academy is a 12-week distance learning version of the NCO Academy, which is a requirement for promotion to master sergeant. Air National Guardsmen have the option of taking the correspondence course or attending either the traditional 6-week in-residence school or the satellite program.

The course was specifically designed for Airmen who cannot attend the six-week program for whatever reason, but still want the education, experience and credit of attending the program in-residence.

During the first phase of the course, students attend four-hour training sessions two nights a week at their home station. Trained facilitators at their unit help them participate in interactive training lessons which are broadcast over the Air National Guard's Warrior Network satellite system.

In the second phase, students travel to McGhee Tyson ANGB, Tenn., for a two-week capstone in-residence experience at the Training and Education Center.

Satellite NCO Academy Class 10-2 included 130 Airmen from 14 units: the Air Reserve Personnel Center, Denver, Colo.; 107th Airlift Wing (AW), Niagara Falls, N.Y.; 108th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), McGuire AFB, N.J.; 109th AW, Stratton ANGB, N.Y.; 121st ARW, Rickenbacker ANGB, Ohio; 134th ARW, McGhee Tyson ANGB, Tenn.; 137th ARW, Will Rogers ANGB, Okla.; 143rd AW, Quonset ANGB, R.I.; 145th AW, Charlotte, N.C.; 149th Fighter Wing, Lackland AFB, Texas; 172nd AW, Jackson, Miss.; 175th WG, Baltimore, Md.; 179th AW, Mansfield, Ohio; and an all Air Force unit from the 509th BW, Whiteman AFB, Mo.