106RQW Airman Recognized with Henry E. Erwin Award

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Christopher S Muncy
  • 106th Rescue Wing Public Affairs
The 106th Rescue Wing celebrated Tech Sergeant Joseph S Napolitano's recent awarding of the Henry E. Erwin Outstanding Enlisted Aircrew Member of the Year Award with a surprise ceremony during the October UTA drill. Napolitano , an airmen with the 101s Rescue Squadron, was recognized for his outstanding service in a ceremony attended by his fellow squadron members, base commander Col Thomas J Owens II, Command Chief MSgt Diana Manno, and his wife Dusty and children, Jordan and Chloe. 

In 1997, the Air Force created the Henry E. Erwin Outstanding Enlisted Aircrew Member of the Year Award. It is presented annually to an airman, noncommissioned officer and senior noncommissioned officer in the flight engineering, loadmaster, air surveillance and related career fields. It is only the second Air Force award named for an enlisted person.

"For me, it's pretty  cool to come to drill weekends and talk with the career enlisted aviators," Chief Master Sergeant Steven Pyszka, career enlisted aviator career field manager for the National Guard Bureau said during the event. "This is special because we get to recognize one of our own."

"This came as a complete surprise," Napolitano said after the event. "I didn't find out until just recently. It felt good. It was an honor to be recognized with an award like that."

The award was named after Master Sergeant Henry "Red" Erwin, a radio operator during World War II who saved his aircraft and crew when a phosphorous bomb exploded prematurely inside the cabin. Erwin carried the still burning explosive through the cabin, and managed to throw it out a window before it could cause irreparable damage.

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