March 21, 2011

Virginia Air National Guard recognizes top enlisted members of 2010

By Staff Sgt. Meaghan E. M. Selki
Virginia Air Guard Public Affairs

RICHMOND, Va. — The state winners for the 2010 Outstanding Airmen of the Year have been selected. Each year, a review board convenes to assess the outstanding Guardsmen selected by their units. After rigorous review, three outstanding Airmen are recognized from the following categories: Airman, Non-commissioned Officer, and Senior Non-commissioned Officer. From state winners in each category, the overall Outstanding Guardsman of the year is selected to represent the Virginia Air National Guard.


Tech. Sgt. Roberto Mercado

Virginia Air National Guard Outstanding Guardsman, and Outstanding Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year

The 2010 Outstanding Guardsman and Outstanding Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year awards have been given to Tech. Sgt. Roberto Mercado, Services supervisor for the 203d RED HORSE Squadron.  Among the distinguishing acts that have led to his selection, he is well known for planning events that enhance morale, welfare and recreation for more than 50 drill status guardsmen on unit training assembly weekends.

Additionally, he leads by example with respect to physical fitness.  On his latest physical fitness test, Mercado maximized his test, with a score of 100.  In order to ensure his unit shares his fitness success, he facilitates remedial training sessions during unit trainin assemblies to encourage and motivate fellow members to excel.

Among his managerial responsibilities as the Services non-commissioned officer in charge, Mercado maintains accountability for more than $300,000 in equipment.  He also took the initiative to streamline the food delivery process for more than 202 personnel, reducing food waste by 62%.

Mercado’s dedication to the unit, state, and Air Force has merited the award of the State Bronze Star. Mercado recently deployed with the RED HORSE unit.


Master Sgt. Todd R. Henry

Outstanding Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year

The Outstanding Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year for 2010 was awarded to Master Sgt. Todd R. Henry, Structural supervisor at the 203d RED HORSE Squadron.  Some of his recent successes include training and leading both the K-Span and the Revetment teams during the 2010 Operational Readiness Inspection, Phase II.  Both teams yielded “Excellent” ratings.

Henry is responsible for holding and maintaining records for a Government Credit Card for purchases exceeding $45,000 in materials for unit construction projects. During a routine audit, his meticulous record keeping resulted in zero discrepancies. 

His fiscal responsibility and outstanding working relationship with industry professionals led to a savings of more than $2,000 in a successful negotiation to remove typical installation fees for the unit’s new K-Span skylights.

Henry is distinguished amongst his peers for his professionalism and commitment to the unit, and he was awarded the State Commendation Medal for his performance. Henry recently deployed with the RED HORSE unit.


Senior Airman Dontel E. Baker

Outstanding Airman of the Year

The Outstanding Airman of the Year for 2010 was awarded to Senior Airman Dontel E. Baker, network intelligence analyst and lead technical reporter at the 192d Intelligence Squadron, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., for his notable professionalism and outstanding technical skills in support of the missions at DGS-1.

Baker produced and disseminated more than 270 time-sensitive reports with 99% accuracy, exceeding the wing standards by nine percent.  He has provided war fighter support via chat and relayed more than 150 enemy activity and/or location tip-offs, increasing social awareness to forces in theatre.

Additionally, he’s exploited 35 U-2 missions as the lead technical reporter. He relayed intelligence to the war fighter that was critical to Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom success. 

Baker stands out from his peer group as his skills continue to exceed expectations, and for his outstanding achievements, he was awarded the State Commendation Medal.

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