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ISR nearly sweeps 14 AF awards

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Schriever Air Force Base Airmen recently earned three more awards to add to the installation's already impressive total for 2014.

This time, it was members of the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance teams who earned recognition at 14th Air Force level.

First Lt. Elyse Crimm, 1st Space Operations Squadron, earned the Major General John S. Patton Outstanding Active Duty ISR Company Grade Officer of the Year; Master Sgt. Teri Freeman, 50th Operations Support Squadron, earned Outstanding Active Duty ISR Senior NCO of the Year; and Tech. Sgt. Russel Justice, 50 OSS, earned Outstanding Active Duty ISR NCO of the Year. Freeman also won the Air Force Space Command level.

"I think it's incredible that in the four categories we're eligible for, the 50th Space Wing won three awards," Crimm said.

Freeman said the near sweep of command-level awards speaks to the 50 SW taking the lead among space wings in integrating intelligence with operations.

"The first thing I said after learning of the awards was, 'Man, we cleaned house,' which is honestly what we did," Freeman said. "I think it just goes to show that we're leaning forward when it comes to intel and our position in a space wing."

Justice found out about his award in a rather unique way. He was one of the Airmen featured during last month's State of the Base address. While wrapping up his profile of Justice, Col. Bill Liquori, 50 SW commander, made the announcement.

"Sergeant Justice competed as an ISR Professional of the Year and was the Non-commissioned officer of the year for the ISR community of the 14th Air Force, and he just found out right now," Liquori said to a round of applause.

Justice said the announcement came as a total surprise.

"I had no idea that was going to happen," Justice said. "It was already great to be recognized as one of the individuals they brought in to State of the Base, but then on top of that to find out I had won the award, it was just amazing."

All three winners agreed that integrating intelligence analysts into the SOPS, ahead of schedule, played a big part in earning their respective awards.

"Being one of the two primary leads in that integration effort was a huge contributing factor (in earning the award)," Justice said. "Schriever is definitely ahead of the power curve when it comes to space operating in a contested, degraded and operationally limited environment, and how they're integrating intel into the space operations squadron environments."

Crimm, and her flight of four other analysts, were a part of the 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron until April 2014 when they were merged with 1 SOPS. The merger gave 1 SOPS something it didn't have previously, intelligence analysts dedicated to the 1 SOPS mission.

"I think the merger is great and I know my commander really likes having the analysts," Crimm said. "We can provide a lot better support to our operators in there."

Freeman said she hopes space operators will gain a better understanding of potential adversary threats to space operations by having intelligence analysts embedded in the squadrons.

Crimm, Freeman and Justice all said they would not have been able to earn their respective award without the help and support of the members of their teams.

"My team is awesome and I have some of the best intel people I have ever worked with in my 19 years in the Air Force," Freeman said. "They amaze me every day."

Justice said the integration was a total team effort and he couldn't have done any of it without the support of both his team and leadership.

Crimm said the hard work of her flight is what allowed her to earn her award.

"My flight works very hard to make sure our operators are aware of threats to their satellites and are constantly trying to improve the relationship between space operators and intel," Crimm said. "It is their hard work and innovation that allowed me to be recognized for this award."
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