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Outstanding Airmen of the Year honored during ANG's Focus on the Force Week

Lieutenant Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, director of the ANG (left) and Chief Master Sgt. James W. Hotaling, command chief master sergeant of the ANG (far right), stand with the ANG outstanding Airmen of the Year during an All Call event Joint Base Andrews Md., Aug 6, 2015. The OAY winners are (left to right) Master Sgt. Sally J. Ford, Outstanding First Sergeant of the Year, Master Sergeant Maria Victoria R. Quitugua, Outstanding Senior NCO of the Year, Staff Sgt. Douglas P. Kechijian, Outstanding Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year and Senior Airman Jonathan R. Smail, Outstanding Airman of the Year. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sergeant Marvin. R. Preston, Released)

Lieutenant Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, director of the ANG (left) and Chief Master Sgt. James W. Hotaling, command chief master sergeant of the ANG (far right), stand with the ANG outstanding Airmen of the Year during an All Call event Joint Base Andrews Md., Aug 6, 2015. The OAY winners are (left to right) Master Sgt. Sally J. Ford, Outstanding First Sergeant of the Year, Master Sergeant Maria Victoria R. Quitugua, Outstanding Senior NCO of the Year, Staff Sgt. Douglas P. Kechijian, Outstanding Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year and Senior Airman Jonathan R. Smail, Outstanding Airman of the Year. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sergeant Marvin. R. Preston, Released)

The Air National Guard's 2015 Outstanding Airmen of the Year are recognized during a director's all call at the Air National Guard Readiness Center on Joint Base Andrews, Md., August 6, 2015. The all call was part of Focus on the Force Week, a series of events highlighting the importance of professional development and recognizing the accomplishments of the enlisted force. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. John E. Hillier/released)

The Air National Guard's 2015 Outstanding Airmen of the Year are recognized during a director's all call at the Air National Guard Readiness Center on Joint Base Andrews, Md., August 6, 2015. The all call was part of Focus on the Force Week, a series of events highlighting the importance of professional development and recognizing the accomplishments of the enlisted force. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. John E. Hillier/released)

The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air National Guard, James W. Hotaling, addresses recently-promoted chief master sergeants during the Chief's Executive Course at the Air National Guard Readiness Center at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 3, 2015. Hotaling also used the opportunity to introduce the ANG Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2015. The CEC provides recently promoted Chief Master Sergeants with a broad view of operations at a strategic level. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Marvin. R. Preston, Released)

The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air National Guard, James W. Hotaling, addresses recently-promoted chief master sergeants during the Chief's Executive Course at the Air National Guard Readiness Center at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 3, 2015. Hotaling also used the opportunity to introduce the ANG Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2015. The CEC provides recently promoted Chief Master Sergeants with a broad view of operations at a strategic level. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Marvin. R. Preston, Released)

Retired Chief Master Sgt. Lynn E. Alexander, former Senior Enlisted Leader to the director of the Air National Guard, center, signs the formers heritage painting lithograph as Chief Master Sgt. James W. Hotaling, command chief master sergeant of the Air National Guard and retired Chief Master Sgt. Richard Smith, former command chief master sergeant of the Air National Guard observe. The lithograph was released as part of the ANG's Focus on the Force week, which gathers senior enlisted leadership to highlight the importance of professional development at all levels, receive feedback from junior enlisted Airmen, and tell the exceptional stories of ANG Airmen throughout the 50 states, territories, and the District of Columbia. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. David Eichaker/released)

Retired Chief Master Sgt. Lynn E. Alexander, former Senior Enlisted Leader to the director of the Air National Guard, center, signs the formers heritage painting lithograph as Chief Master Sgt. James W. Hotaling, command chief master sergeant of the Air National Guard and retired Chief Master Sgt. Richard Smith, former command chief master sergeant of the Air National Guard observe. The lithograph was released as part of the ANG's Focus on the Force week, which gathers senior enlisted leadership to highlight the importance of professional development at all levels, receive feedback from junior enlisted Airmen, and tell the exceptional stories of ANG Airmen throughout the 50 states, territories, and the District of Columbia. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. David Eichaker/released)

Lieutenant Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, director of the Air National Guard, addresses attendees during an All Call event Aug. 6, 2015 at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. The purpose of the All Call is to recognize the ANG’s Outstanding Airmen of the Year and signifies the end to Focus on the Force, which gathers senior enlisted leaders to openly discuss concerns, receive feedback from enlisted Airmen, and tell the exceptional stories of ANG Airmen throughout the 50 states, territories, and the District of Columbia. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sergeant Marvin. R. Preston, Released)

Lieutenant Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, director of the Air National Guard, addresses attendees during an All Call event Aug. 6, 2015 at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. The purpose of the All Call is to recognize the ANG’s Outstanding Airmen of the Year and signifies the end to Focus on the Force, which gathers senior enlisted leaders to openly discuss concerns, receive feedback from enlisted Airmen, and tell the exceptional stories of ANG Airmen throughout the 50 states, territories, and the District of Columbia. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sergeant Marvin. R. Preston, Released)

The Air National Guard 2015 Outstanding Airmen of the Year listen as Lieutenant Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, director of the Air National Guard, addresses the audience during an All Call event at Joint Base Andrews Md., Aug 6, 2015. The OAY winners are (left to right) Master Sgt. Sally J. Ford, Outstanding First Sergeant of the Year, Master Sergeant Maria Victoria R. Quitugua, Outstanding Senior NCO of the Year, Staff Sgt. Douglas P. Kechijian, Outstanding Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year and Senior Airman Jonathan R. Smail, Outstanding Airman of the Year. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sergeant Marvin. R. Preston, Released)

The Air National Guard 2015 Outstanding Airmen of the Year listen as Lieutenant Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, director of the Air National Guard, addresses the audience during an All Call event at Joint Base Andrews Md., Aug 6, 2015. The OAY winners are (left to right) Master Sgt. Sally J. Ford, Outstanding First Sergeant of the Year, Master Sergeant Maria Victoria R. Quitugua, Outstanding Senior NCO of the Year, Staff Sgt. Douglas P. Kechijian, Outstanding Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year and Senior Airman Jonathan R. Smail, Outstanding Airman of the Year. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sergeant Marvin. R. Preston, Released)

Master Sergeant Maria Victoria R. Quitugua, 2015 Air National Guard Outstanding Senior NCO of the Year, listens to a presentation by Chief Master Sgt. James W. Hotaling, command chief master sergeant of the Air National Guard, during the Chiefs Executive Course at the Air National Guard Readiness Center at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 3, 2015. Quitugua is a security forces Airman from the Guam Air National Guard's 254th Security Forces Squadron. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Marvin. R. Preston, Released)

Master Sergeant Maria Victoria R. Quitugua, 2015 Air National Guard Outstanding Senior NCO of the Year, listens to a presentation by Chief Master Sgt. James W. Hotaling, command chief master sergeant of the Air National Guard, during the Chiefs Executive Course at the Air National Guard Readiness Center at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 3, 2015. Quitugua is a security forces Airman from the Guam Air National Guard's 254th Security Forces Squadron. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Marvin. R. Preston, Released)

Senior Airman Jonathan R. Smail, Air National Guard 2015 Outstanding Airman of the Year, talks with retired Chief Master Sgt. Lynn E. Alexander, the second Senior Enlisted Advisor of the ANG, at the Air National Guard Readiness Center on Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 6, 2015. Smail is a RF Transmissions Systems Journeyman with the Colorado ANG's 233rd Space Communications Squadron, based in Greeley, Colorado. Focus on the Force week gathers senior enlisted leaders to highlight the importance of professional development at all levels, receive feedback from junior enlisted Airmen, and tell the exceptional stories of ANG Airmen throughout the 50 states, territories, and the District of Columbia. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sergeant Marvin. R. Preston, Released)

Senior Airman Jonathan R. Smail, Air National Guard 2015 Outstanding Airman of the Year, talks with retired Chief Master Sgt. Lynn E. Alexander, the second Senior Enlisted Advisor of the ANG, at the Air National Guard Readiness Center on Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 6, 2015. Smail is a RF Transmissions Systems Journeyman with the Colorado ANG's 233rd Space Communications Squadron, based in Greeley, Colorado. Focus on the Force week gathers senior enlisted leaders to highlight the importance of professional development at all levels, receive feedback from junior enlisted Airmen, and tell the exceptional stories of ANG Airmen throughout the 50 states, territories, and the District of Columbia. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sergeant Marvin. R. Preston, Released)

The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air National Guard, James W. Hotaling, (center left) and Lieutenant Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, director of the ANG (center right) pose for a photo with 2015 ANG Outstanding Airmen of the Year. The Airmen are (left to right) Douglas P. Kechijian, Outstanding Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year, Master Sergeant Maria Victoria R. Quitugua, Outstanding Senior NCO of the Year, Senior Airman Jonathan R. Smail, Outstanding Airman of the Year and Master Sgt. Sally J. Ford, 2015 First Sergeant of the Year. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sergeant Marvin. R. Preston, Released)

The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air National Guard, James W. Hotaling, (center left) and Lieutenant Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, director of the ANG (center right) pose for a photo with 2015 ANG Outstanding Airmen of the Year. The Airmen are (left to right) Douglas P. Kechijian, Outstanding Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year, Master Sergeant Maria Victoria R. Quitugua, Outstanding Senior NCO of the Year, Senior Airman Jonathan R. Smail, Outstanding Airman of the Year and Master Sgt. Sally J. Ford, 2015 First Sergeant of the Year. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sergeant Marvin. R. Preston, Released)

Airmen at the Air National Guard Readiness Center congratulate the Air National Guard 2015 Outstanding Airmen of the Year following an all call hosted by Director of the Air National Guard Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III at the ANGRC Aug. 6, 2015. The all call was the culmination of Focus on the Force Week, a series of events highlighting the importance of professional development for Airmen at all levels, and the recognition of accomplishments throughout the enlisted corps. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. John E. Hillier/released)
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Airmen at the Air National Guard Readiness Center congratulate the Air National Guard 2015 Outstanding Airmen of the Year following an all call hosted by Director of the Air National Guard Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III at the ANGRC Aug. 6, 2015. The all call was the culmination of Focus on the Force Week, a series of events highlighting the importance of professional development for Airmen at all levels, and the recognition of accomplishments throughout the enlisted corps. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. John E. Hillier/released)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- The Air National Guard Outstanding Airmen of the Year were recognized for their accomplishments as part of Focus on the Force Week during an all call ceremony held at the Air National Guard Readiness Center here, Aug. 6.

Focus on the Force Week is a series of events designed to gather senior enlisted leadership and highlight the importance of professional development for Airmen of all levels, receive feedback from junior enlisted Airmen, and tell the exceptional stories of ANG Airmen throughout the nation.

"This is a time for other Airmen to be mentors and help build a pathway towards creating other great Airmen," said Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke, III, director, Air National Guard, during the ceremony. "This is a celebration of our Airmen."

The top ANG enlisted leader spent the week with the OAY winners and reflected on their character as well.

"These Airmen are exceptional," said Chief Master Sgt. James W. Hotaling, command chief master sergeant of the Air National Guard. "When you spend time with them, you really know how extraordinary they are."

During the week, the OAY winners had a chance to sit in on the Chief's Executive Course, a professional development course designed to give recently-promoted chief master sergeants the tools they need for success in their new rank.

"Having the OAY winners participate in the Chief's Executive Course allows them to see that deliberate development and education doesn't stop at a certain rank," said Chief Master Sgt. Michael Brady, CEC facilitator. "There's always another level."

During the week, the OAY winners had opportunities to speak with the top levels of Guard leadership and get a wider perspective on how the Guard operates.

"Hearing Lt. Gen. Clarke speak about topics at the strategic level was an eye-opener," said Master Sgt. Sally J. Ford, the ANG Outstanding First Sergeant of the Year. "The direction they are taking the force just sheds a whole new light on my understanding of the Guard and the way it functions. Anytime you can broaden your perspective ... you're able to go back to your unit and better explain how they fit into the overall force picture."

During the week, the OAY winners also had time to network with experienced leadership for future development.

"This is a chance to go to work, to meet the right kind of people, make the right connections, get advice and take that back to my home unit and help any Airmen on my base self-improve," said Senior Airman Jonathan R. Smail, ANG Outstanding Airman of the Year.

 The opportunity for mentorship from senior leaders was an invaluable experience for the OAY Airmen.

"It was encouraging to be around people at the pinnacle of their career and ask them what they did to get where they are," said Smail, stating that he was told to take opportunities as they come and to challenge himself.

The mentorship and speaking with senior leaders was beneficial to others as well. Meeting the other OAY winners and getting their perspective on various topics affecting the Air Guard was extremely helpful, said Master Sgt. Maria R. Quitugua, ANG Outstanding Senior Non-commissioned Officer of the Year.

Being recognized can be a humbling experience but personal accomplishments involve teamwork.

"It's really about the entire Air Force's accomplishments and the missions that we all do," said Staff Sgt. Douglas P. Kechijian, ANG Non-commissioned Officer of the Year and one of the Air Force's 12 Outstanding Airman of the Year. "It's not about us, but about the whole Air Force."