PA National Guardsman Recognized Nationally by Air Force

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Air National Guard Staff Sgt. John C. Norris has been selected as one of the U.S. Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.

Norris, 27, of Etters, York County, and the other airmen will be honored in September during the Air Force Association’s Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington, D.C.  The association recognizes outstanding enlisted personnel for superior leadership, job performance, community involvement and personal achievements.

“Staff Sgt. Norris is an exceptional, combat-hardened non-commissioned officer, joint terminal attack controller, and citizen battlefield airman,” said Lt. Col. Terrence Koudelka, commander of the 148th Air Support Operations Squadron, Pennsylvania National Guard. “He is truly deserving of this recognition, and I’m extremely proud of his accomplishments and achievements this past year while serving in Afghanistan.”

Koudelka described Norris’ honor as testament to the values he exhibits as a tactical air control party specialist.

Norris learned that he was selected as the 193rd Special Operations Wing’s Outstanding Airman of the Year for non-commissioned officers, as he rounded out his most recent deployment to Afghanistan from March to December 2010. He later won the Air National Guard level as the Non-Commissioned Officer Outstanding Airman of the Year.

While serving with the 101st Airborne Division, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 327 Infantry Regiment, Task Force No Slack, Norris coordinated and controlled 120 close air support missions as a joint terminal attack controller and conducted more than 100 combat patrols.

Norris, who was awarded the Army commendation medal with a valor device, is also credited for the capture of one high-value target, and eliminating another. In another incident, Norris charged into enemy fire to rescue two wounded and isolated soldiers during an enemy ambush. He was able to order an evacuation of the injured soldiers while simultaneously directing fire from two Apache helicopters that successfully silenced the enemy.

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