Air Force announces JAG award winners

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force Judge Advocate General announced April 30 the 2009 Judge Advocate General Award winners.

"I am proud of each of our award winners; they represent the best of the best," said Lt. Gen. Richard C. Harding, the judge advocate general. "They have demonstrated excellence, initiative, leadership, devotion to duty and professionalism, and serve as an example for all of us."

The winners include:

Maj. Stacey Vetter, the deputy staff judge advocate, of the 21st Space Wing, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., earned the Albert M. Kuhfeld Award for outstanding judge advocate. This award recognizes the active-duty officer in the grade of major or captain selected as the most outstanding judge advocate of the year based on demonstrated excellence, initiative and devotion to duty.

Senior Master Sgt. Steven Fitzgerald, a paralegal manager, of the 14th Air Force, at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., earned the Karen Yates-Popwell Award for outstanding paralegal senior NCO. This award recognizes the active-duty SNCO in the grade of senior master sergeant or master sergeant selected as the most outstanding paralegal of the year based on demonstrated excellence, superior initiative, leadership, management skills and professionalism.

Tech. Sgt. Karin Burke, the NCO-in-charge of claims and legal assistance, at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, earned the Steve Swigonski Award for outstanding paralegal Airman. This award recognizes the active-duty Airman in the grade of technical sergeant or below selected as the most outstanding paralegal of the year based on demonstrated superior initiative, technical skill, leadership ability and devotion to duty.

Lt. Col. Daniel Rouse, the assistant staff judge advocate, of the 8th AF, Barksdale AFB, La., earned the Reginald C. Harmon Award as outstanding Reserve judge advocate. This award recognizes the most outstanding Air Reserve Component officer in the grade of lieutenant colonel or below. The recipient is selected as the most outstanding judge advocate of the year based on training accomplishments or contribution to mission support, exhibition of leadership in the military or civilian community, and enrollment in off-duty programs of professional self-improvement.

Tech. Sgt. Robert Misener, a paralegal, of the 6th Air Mobility Wing, at MacDill AFB, Fla., earned the David Westbrook Award as outstanding Reserve paralegal. This award recognizes the most outstanding ARC paralegal of the year. The recipient demonstrated superior initiative, technical skill, training accomplishments or contribution to mission support, exhibition of leadership in the military or civilian community, and enrollment in off-duty programs of professional self-improvement.

Douglas Sanders, the chief of Environmental Litigation Center, of the Air Force Legal Operations Agency, at Bolling AFB, DC, earned the James O. Wrightson Jr. Award as outstanding civilian attorney. This award recognizes the civilian attorney employed by or serving with the Judge Advocate General's Corps selected as the most outstanding civilian attorney of the year based on demonstrated excellence, initiative and devotion to duty.

Ronald Frazier, the chief of paralegal training and curriculum, of The Judge Advocate General's School, at the Air Force Legal Operations Agency, Maxwell AFB, Ala., earned the Harold R. Vague Award as outstanding legal service civilian. This award recognizes the legal service civilian (non-attorney) employed by or serving with the JAG's Corps selected as most outstanding legal service civilian of the year based on demonstrated excellence, initiative and devotion to duty. Special consideration is given to those individuals who develop or improve systems, programs or procedures that enhance management efficiency or cost-effectiveness for Air Force legal programs.

The award recipients will be formally recognized at an awards banquet at the Air Force JAG Corps' Leadership Summit this fall in Orlando, Fla.