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50 OG shines at Morrell awards banquet

Col. John Bythewood, 50th Operations Group commander, and Chief Master Sgt. David Pesch, 50 OG superintendent, honor award winners during the 12th annual Maj. Gen. Jimmey R. Morrell Awards banquet at the U.S. Air Force Academy Doolittle Hall Friday, June 3, 2016. The awards night highlighted and awarded members of the 50 OG who best epitomize the values and characteristics Gen. Morrell displayed during his career.

Col. John Bythewood, 50th Operations Group commander, and Chief Master Sgt. David Pesch, 50 OG superintendent, honor award winners during the 12th annual Maj. Gen. Jimmey R. Morrell Awards banquet at the U.S. Air Force Academy Doolittle Hall Friday, June 3, 2016. The awards night highlighted and awarded members of the 50 OG who best epitomize the values and characteristics Gen. Morrell displayed during his career.

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

The 50th Operations Group hosted the 12th annual Maj. Gen. Jimmey R. Morrell Awards banquet June 3, 2016, at the U.S. Air Force Academy Doolittle Hall.

Every year, the banquet is held in honor of Morrell, who was the commander of the 2nd Space Wing at Falcon Air Force Base from 1988 to 1990, before the installation was renamed Schriever.

The awards night highlighted and awarded 50 OG members who best epitomize the values and characteristics Morrell displayed during his career: penetrating vision, uncompromised commitment to excellence, highest possible standards and expectations, unwavering courage needed to shape the future and a ceaseless drive to develop and mentor future leaders.

The winners from each category were as follows:

Airman: Senior Airman Stinson Kratz - 4th Space Operations Squadron

NCO: Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Gilbert - 50th Operations Support Squadron

Senior NCO: Master Sgt. Abifarin Scott - 2nd Space Operations Squadron

Civilian: Stephanie Soltysik – 3rd Space Operations Squadron

CGO: Capt. Jessica Getrost - 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron

 

First Lt. Eric Aglubat, 4 SOPS chief of spacecraft engineering, was one of the planning committee members.

“As we heard at the banquet, (General Morrell) was a very hard working man, he was a visionary. He stuck to things when it wasn’t popular or easy. He knew that in the end, the vision he had was more important to commit to than adhering what other people said was right,” he said.

The planning for the Morrell banquet and events goes from squadron to squadron within the OG every year. This year, the 4 SOPS led the effort and began planning November of last year.

“This event was first started about 12 years ago by now Lt. Gen. Kevin McLaughlin, one of the founders of the award. It’s evolved and we’re still doing it. Everyone in the OG does great things every day and we just want to showcase and recognize them to acknowledge that,” said Aglubat.

The night kicked off with a social hour that allowed squadrons to intermingle with members outside of their work centers. Once the festivities started, nominees were introduced followed by an OG video during dinner and then a speech from Lt. Gen. Kevin McLaughlin, U.S. Cyber Command deputy commander, who coined all the award winners at the end.

“It was pretty cool - because out of the 120 plus individuals in the room, (General McLaughlin) was the only one who had personally known General Morrell. So he was able to relay things after having directly worked for him and just seeing how he shaped what (the awards are) about. He’s very in touch with the force and with what they do,” said Aglubat.

An important focus for the planning committee this year was to give back through their events.

“General Morrell passed away with cancer, so we wanted to make sure we raised enough funds so that we could provide a donation in the name of Mrs. Morrell in (his) honor. Mrs. Morrell is going to choose a charity of her choice and we have set aside $1,000 to provide whatever charity she chooses,” said 2nd Lt. Jessica Trundy, 4 SOPS executive officer and planning committee member.

The annual tradition of the Morrell awards also included a bowling and golfing tournament to boost morale and ramp up excitement for the dinner.

“The golfing tournament was great, 24 teams participated making it the largest turnout we’ve ever had. It was tremendous, very well organized. Everybody had a blast,” said Trundy.

Aglubat explained that honoring Morrell was important, as he played a crucial role in the development of the space frontier.

“At the time, space was a new command. No one really knew what to do with it. Gen. Morrell had a vision, stuck to that vision, stayed the course and space is what it’s now today. One of the true pioneers of this command,” he said.

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