By Tech. Sgt. Lucretia Cunningham
Capt. Andrew Gibler poses for a photo on the flightline on March 8, 2020, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. He has applied his experience and passion for mechanics to his job as a maintenance officer in the 192nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. – Two Virginia Air National Guard Airmen have won what’s known as the most prominent award in the Air Force maintenance field.
Capt. Andrew Gibler and Master Sgt. William Marshall from the 192nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron are this year’s Gen. Lew Allen Jr. Award winners at the Air National Guard level. The two competed against Airmen from more than 80 ANG units with flying missions and will go on to compete at the Air Force level. Winners at the Air Force level receive trophies in a special ceremony at the Pentagon.
“The [Gen.] Lew Allen award is one of the most prestigious annual awards given to maintainers as its focus is on sortie generation and mission execution,” said Col. Matthew Hummel, 192nd Maintenance Group commander. “Those are two things our unit and these two amazing Airmen do best. These winners represent all of Team Langley’s maintainers – no doubt!”
The annual award is named after the 10th chief of staff of the Air Force, whose legacy is attention to detail and technical expertise. The achievement recognizes senior noncommissioned officers directly involved in sortie generation, as well as base-level aircraft, munitions, or missile maintenance officers directly involved in mission execution.
In their respective roles as 192nd AMXS director of maintenance and production superintendent, Gibler and Marshall managed a total force integrated flying program with up to 54 jets and 200 sorties to sustain Air Combat Command’s sole F-22 Raptor unit.
Gibler was also vital to keeping normal flying operations during COVID-19 by developing new personnel and flying schedules to implement required safety guidelines for the integrated 1st Fighter Wing and 192nd Wing.
“I think it says a lot about what we do as a unit, who we are, and the amount of effort and focus that we put towards generating aircraft,” Gibler said. “There’s not a lot of bases worldwide who are as active in the deployment tempo as we are and can still fly so much and do so much on a daily basis.”
Marshall was essential to orchestrating and leading required repairs in less than 24 hours to evacuate 23 aircraft during Hurricane Dorian in 2019.
“Really, I think it boils down to everybody around me doing their job, which helps make my job easier,” Marshall said. “I don’t think I could have gotten anything without everybody else here doing what they were supposed to.”
Airmen from the 192nd Maintenance Group have done exceptionally well at the National Guard Bureau level this year. In addition to the Gen. Lew Allen winners, this year’s Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez Award recipients include Senior Airman Ethan Martin, Master Sgt. Kyle Kirkland and 1st Lt. Haley Jefferis. Tech. Sgt. Robert McCormack is taking home the Chief Master Sgt. Barnes Crew Chief of the Year Award.
Gen. Lew Allen Jr. graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1946 and served as a bomber pilot in Strategic Air Command. His early career was punctuated by multiple assignments in nuclear-capable units, and he earned a doctorate in physics in 1954. He continued to serve as a pioneer in scientific and research projects throughout his career. He became commander, Air Force Systems Command, in 1977, and Air Force chief of staff in 1978.