Airmen from the 177th Maintenance Group receive awards at the 2023 Maintenance Professional of the Year Banquet

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Kevin Ray Salvador
  • 177th Fighter Wing

Unofficially recognized as the “Godfather” of the Air Force’s maintenance communities, the Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez Award is a national level award that recognizes maintainers who have exceeded the standard for job performance, job efficiency and results, job knowledge, and direct sortie generation involvement, according to the National Air and Space Museum.

“It's really nice to see leadership recognizing people for doing a good job,” said Tech Sgt. James Dzierwinski, a 177th Maintenance Squadron electrical and environmental systems specialist and recipient of the 2022 NGB Level Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez Award for Technician Supervisor NCO Aircraft Maintenance. “All in all, it comes down to having a good team working together. It's everybody, all for one fight. It's not one person on their own.”

2022 has been a busy year for the 177th Maintenance Group. According to Lt. Col. Brian Cooper, commander of the 177th Maintenance Group, they generated more than 1,500 sorties, leading to more than 2,600 flying hours and performed approximately 35,000 maintenance actions, including 100% success on Aerospace Control Alert practice scrambles. The impressive accomplishments of the 177th Maintenance Group did not go unnoticed.

“They [The award recipients] are nominated by the supervisor, and then they're boarded and we select a winner from each unit,” said Cooper when asked about the selection process for the awards. “These guys work their butts off non-stop day in, day out, and it's at least we can do as the leadership here to recognize them.”

During the banquet, 19 airmen from the 177th Maintenance Group were recognized for their nominations for the NGB Level Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez Award, including both officer and enlisted personnel. Members from both the 177th Maintenance Group and 177th Operations Group were in attendance for the occasion.

“There's a lot of history between the pilots and the maintainers. An event like this is so special to see the operations group and the maintenance group getting together,” said Cooper. “We're here for a single mission and these are the men and women out there doing it and it is so really, really important to recognize them and really just give them a piece of hardware that they can go and be proud of when they go home.”