106th Rescue Wing Pararescue Jumper Recognized as NCO of the Year

  • Published
  • By Staff Sergeant Christopher S Muncy
  • 106th Rescue Wing Public Affairs
New York Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Douglas Kechijian has been named the Air National Guard's 2015 Outstanding Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year in recognition of his service with the 106th Rescue Wing.

Kechijian, a graduate from Brown University, with a Masters in Exercise Physiology and Doctor of Physical Therapy from Columbia University, serves as a Pararescueman with the 103rd Rescue Squadron based in Westhampton, Beach New York.

In 2006, Kechijian graduated from Pararescue School and was assigned to the 103rd. During his time there, he has participated in multiple operations and missions around the globe. Additionally, he was part of the Civil SAR (search and rescue) long-range missions in Alaska and NASA's space shuttle rescue alert missions at the Kennedy Space Center.

As one of only twelve other airmen recognized with the award, Kechijian has been characterized by his peers as an outstanding asset to his section. According to Maj. Glyn B Weir, a Combat Rescue Officer with the 103rd Rescue Squadron, "Doug is an ideal Guard member who is able to train, deploy and serve his country in an operational environment while achieving his life goals. "

His singular drive to succeed was a major factor in his receiving of this award. "He's a hugely outstanding airman," said Chief Master Sgt. Diana Manno, Command Chief for the 106th Rescue Wing. "He started his career out of Basic Training as an Honor Graduate, and continued right on through the pipeline to become a PJ. I give credit to our drill status guardsmen, but [Kechijian] deserves a lot because of all the things he's gone on to do on the civilian side."

"This award only confirms what everyone in the squadron already knows," said Master Sgt. Sam Prescott. "Doug really is a great teammate, an awesome technician and a tremendous asset."

Speaking for himself, Kechijian remained humble. "I joined the Air National Guard because I grew up on Long Island, so to have a [Pararescue] unit in my backyard, to be able to stay close to my family and friends made it an easy decision" Later, he said that he was no more deserving of this award than anyone else in the 103rd. "Nobody joins the military for accolades, and all of us are uncomfortable with them because we're not here for individual awards."

Col. Thomas Owens, Commander of the 106th Rescue Wing, praised Kechijian during the August unit training assembly and took time to recognize the skill it takes to navigate between a successful private physical therapy practice and the demands of being a Pararescue Jumper with the Guard. "

The 106th Rescue Wing is comprised of over a thousand personnel, roughly two thirds of which are part time drill status guardsmen such as Kechijian. "Citizen Airmen are the fabric of our communities," according to Col. Owens. "New York Air National Guard airmen are always on mission, ready to respond to state and federal taskings."

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