The Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (missiledefenseadvocacy.org) hosted the second annual European Missile Defender of the Year awards ceremony last Friday evening, April 17th, in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The best missile defense operators from the Air Force, Army and Navy for the defense of NATO in 2015 came from Germany, Netherlands, Italy and the United States. We were privileged to have the first two women honored as recipients for this award, an officer from the U.S. Navy and an non-commissioned officer from the Netherlands Air Force. This was also the first time for Italy to win the award, receiving the NATO missile defender of the year. This award went to Turkey last year.
This awards ceremony comes at a symbolic time for the European missile defense team, coinciding with the anniversary of NATO’s founding in April 1949. The awards this year recognize the best in leadership and achievement for each of the six winners. They have led exceptional teams and reflect that excellence in providing readiness, deterrence and defense in a ever more complex and challenging theater of operations.
In the missile defense of Europe, NATO faces considerable challenges in three areas:
1. Russia, with its short-range ballistic missile threat to Eastern European NATO countries, including Poland, Romania and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
2.) Iran, with its Shahab-3 ballistic missiles and future development of longer-range ballistic and cruise missiles. The Shahab-3 ballistic missile can threaten Southern Europe and NATO countries, including, Turkey, Greece and Romania.
3.) Syria, with its short-range Scud ballistic missiles that threaten Turkey. As a NATO country, Turkey has invoked Article 5 of the NATO Charter for its defense against those Scud missile threats. The United States, Germany and Netherlands have had missile defense systems deployed in Turkey since 2013.
MDAA was truly honored to present these six winners from four NATO countries that represent great teams that are up for those daunting challenges of defending Europe from ballistic missiles.
The winners were:
Lieutenant Colonel Eric Lazenby, USAF, Chief, Defensive Operations, Air and Space Operations Center
Lieutenant Colonol Marco de Massari, Italian AF, BMC Planning Officer, NATO BMD Operations Centre, Ramstein Air Base
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Wesley M. Dohogn, Air Defense Integrator, HHB, 10th AAMDC
Captain Heiko Precht, Battle Management Supervisor, S3 Plans Officer, Air Missile Defense Wing 1, German AF
Lieutenant Lis Bydairk, Integrated Air and Missile Defense Officer, U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Africa & Sixth Fleer
Sergeant First Class Sabrina van den Goorbergh, Tactical Control Reporting Assistant, 802 Squadron, Firing Unit 2, Crew 1
MDAA’s mission is to make the world safer by advocating for the development and deployment of missile defense systems to defend the United States, its armed forces and its allies against missile threats.
MDAA is the only organization in existence whose primary mission is to educate the American public about missile defense issues and to recruit, organize, and mobilize proponents to advocate for the critical need of missile defense. We are a non-partisan membership-based and membership-funded organization that does not advocate on behalf of any specific system, technology, architecture or entity.
Source: Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance