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106th Rescue Wing Airman Named Top Data Operations NCO in Air Guard

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Kevin Donaldson
  • 106th Rescue Wing

F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base, N.Y. – New York Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Paola Sanchez, the knowledge operations management specialist for the 106th Rescue Wing, has been recognized as the top data operation sergeant in the Air Guard.

Sanchez, a resident of Brentwood has received the Information Dominance Award of Outstanding Data Operations Noncommissioned Office for fiscal year 2023.

She competed against Airmen in the same position in 89 other Air Guard wings for the recognition, which was announced in November.

Lt. Col. Marybeth Koller, commander of the 106th Communications Squadron, praised Sanchez's accomplishments.

"We are incredibly honored that a member of our organization has been recognized at the Air Guard level and will now compete at the Air Force level as the top Data Operations NCO of the Year," Koller said. "Staff Sgt. Sanchez consistently brings a positive attitude that exemplifies professionalism and enthusiasm in her quality of work and always with a smile!"

While on deployment for Operation Enduring Sentinel, Sanchez was key in tracking and managing aircraft movements. Her role was vital to the success of our combined military operations in Djibouti, according to Koller.

"She played a crucial role in overseeing and handling important information for a significant digital command center," Koller said. "Her sharp eye in spotting and reporting over 20 suspicious activities greatly improved our team's ability to work together effectively."

As a battle system operator, Sanchez handled important defense equipment to safeguard many people and improved military technology, including unmanned aerial systems, according to Koller.

Koller said her international work included collaborating with various countries at the NATO Conference, significantly contributing to developing new strategies for these systems.

At the 106th, Sanchez's technical expertise was invaluable, Koller said. "She was the driving force in our daily briefings, supporting over 1100 personnel," Koller said.

Sanchez credited her parents for showing her the advantage of having a strong work ethic.

"My parents' journey as first-generation immigrants inspired me to always strive for excellence," Sanchez said. "Seeing their hard work and dedication motivated me to push myself and contribute meaningfully to our operations."

Sanchez attributed her success to her proactive attitude towards learning and self-development.

"I constantly seek new information and teach myself to stay ahead," she added. "This self-driven learning has been crucial in my professional growth and personal development."

Sanchez's service and achievements set a standard of excellence within the ANG, according to Koller.

"Her efforts have significantly enhanced the operational readiness and effectiveness of the 106th," Koller said.

The 106th Rescue Wing, based at F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach, New York, operates and maintains the HC-130J Combat King II search and rescue aircraft, and the HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopter. The 106th Rescue Wing is home to a special warfare squadron with pararescuemen and combat rescue officers, specializing in rescue and recovery, and deploys for domestic and overseas operations.