Gorham, Waterville Guardsmen among Outstanding awards recipients

AUGUSTA – An airman from Gorham and soldier from Waterville are among the Maine Outstanding Airmen, Best Warrior Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year recipients recognized at Camp Chamberlain on May 14.
The joint ceremony, designed to recognize both soldiers and airmen, has historically been an annual ceremony but the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the celebration in 2020 and 2021. This year, winners from 2020, 2021 and 2022 were all recognized.
Tech Sgt. Michal Krysinski, 243rd Engineering and Installation Squadron, was Maine Air National Guard 2022 Outstanding NCO of the Year for 2022.
Spc. Andrew Killen, of Waterville, was 251st Engineer Company (Sapper), was Best Warrior Soldier of the Year for 2021.
“These airmen and soldiers exemplify the best of the best and truly make us proud as leaders,” said State Command Sgt. Major Brian Dill. “We continue to have Soldiers and Airmen that find the drive and energy to go above and beyond in their personal lives, professional careers and their communities.”
In the Air National Guard, the Outstanding Airman of the Year program calls for each state headquarters to select nominees in three categories: Airman, Non-Commissioned Officer and Senior Non-Commissioned Officer. Nominees for First Sergeant of the Year and Honor Guard Member of the Year are also submitted in their respective categories. The Maine Air National Guard also selects and recognizes a Company Grade Officer of the Year.
All candidates are rated on their performance during the previous calendar year in leadership, job performance, and the whole Airman concept (fitness, education, community service, and civilian employment).
Winners from the 101st Air Refueling Wing, 243rd Engineering and Installation Squadron & 265th Combat Communications Squadron competed for selection as the state winners in their respective category.
The individuals selected as outstanding have been submitted to National Guard Bureau for consideration as Air National Guard candidates for the Air Force Outstanding Airman, First Sergeant and Honor Guard Member of the Year programs.
In the Army National Guard, the state level best warrior competition consists of 15 events designed to test Soldiers’ tactical abilities, technical competence and physical stamina. Soldiers complete all these events over the span of three days and are tested in numerous ways from a 12-mile ruck march, to marksmanship, to written knowledge. State winners go on to represent Maine in the regional competition.
Maj. Gen. Douglas Farnham, Maine’s adjutant general, addressing the audience May 14, said “We have the easy jobs. We get to work with people who are motivated and trained and have a mission that matters, but we can’t do that without our families.”
Farnham said he was proud of everything Maine soldiers and airmen had done during the pandemic, as well as supporting continued federal missions like Maine’s state partnership with Montenegro, deployments to the Southwest border and Africa, and the January 2021 response to the U.S. Capitol.
“I’m proud of all that and I hope you are too,” said Farnham. “You should be because you’re the reason that I’m proud. It’s the soldiers and airmen of the Maine National Guard that made that happen…and it’s going be your responsibility to continue that legacy and that heritage for the next folks.”
For a list of all the winners for the past three years, click here.