Warrant Officer Darren Small of the Royal Canadian Air Force was recently awarded the Alaska Commendation Medal.
It was presented for “outstanding meritorious service as Grizzly Flight’s Assistant Superintendent, 176th Air Control Squadron, 176th Wing, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson”.
The medal was presented by 176th Air Control Squadron’s commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Howard of the Alaska Air National Guard, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) in September 2012.
It recognizes WO Small’s actions from August 1, 2009 to May 1, 2012 when he was employed as a mission crew commander technician at the squadron.
The citation reads in part: “The Governor of Alaska has awarded the Alaska Commendation Medal to Warrant Officer Darren S. Small who expertly managed a combined American and Canadian crew during twenty Northern Sovereignty Operation missions resulting in the successful interception of Russian military aircraft.
“His efforts guaranteed no unauthorized incursions in North American sovereign airspace; integral in the successful execution on Vigilant Eagle, the first ever United States and Russian air exercise that validated anti-terrorism live fly procedures; his outstanding dedication as an instructor allowed for unit flexibility and ensured proper manning for mission success; an integral role in the execution of the NORAD Command’s Alert Force Evaluation directly contributed to the unit and section receiving the highest rating of ‘Mission Ready’.”
“It is always nice to be recognized for hard work but it means a little more when this recognition comes from the Allies you work with,” says WO Small, who is an aerospace control operator posted to the Canadian Detachment at JBER, Alaska. He has served in the Canadian Forces for 22 years.
The Alaska Commendation Medal is the third highest of Alaska's decorations. It was designed to recognize heroic or exceptionally meritorious service to the Alaska National Guard, Naval Militia, or Department of Military and Veteran Affairs.