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Winners announced in memorial essay contest

Several Airmen received prizes and recognition at an award ceremony on Nov. 15, 2016 at Peterson AFB for their winning essays in the 2016 Gen. Bernard A. Schriever Memorial Essay Contest.  Pictured from left to right are AFSPC vice commander Maj. Gen. David Thompson, Open Division winning essay author Lt. Col. Mark Reith and incoming AFA Lance P. Sijan Chapter president Kristen Christy

Several Airmen received prizes and recognition at an award ceremony on Nov. 15, 2016 at Peterson AFB for their winning essays in the 2016 Gen. Bernard A. Schriever Memorial Essay Contest. Pictured from left to right are AFSPC vice commander Maj. Gen. David Thompson, Open Division winning essay author Lt. Col. Mark Reith and incoming AFA Lance P. Sijan Chapter president Kristen Christy

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Several Airmen received prizes for their winning essays in the 2016 Gen. Bernard A. Schriever Memorial Essay Contest Nov. 15.

The purpose of the annual contest is to foster thought, discussion and debate regarding the impacts of space and cyberspace capabilities on the joint force and our nation.  The Lance P. Sijan Chapter of the Air Force Association, in cooperation with Air Force Space Command, sponsored the contest.

This year there were two divisions in the contest, an Open Division and an Airman/NCO Division.  The AFA’s Lance P. Sijan Chapter provided plaques and cash awards of $1,000 and $500, respectively, to the Open Division winner and runner-up.  This year the Airman/NCO Division was created to stimulate thought and responses from junior enlisted members.  The top selections in this category earned the authors plaques and $500 for the winner and $250 for the runner-up.

The theme for this year’s contest was, "A contested space environment will require a warfighter mindset in our Airmen.  What are the immediate and long-term challenges and solutions to adapt to a warfighter mindset?"

Presiding officials at the award ceremony were Maj. Gen. David Thompson, AFSPC vice commander, and Kristen Christy, incoming AFA Lance P. Sijan Chapter president.  Several winners presented a short summary of their paper at the award ceremony.

The top essays will be published in the Air and Space Power Journal. Lt. Col. Steve Drinnon, ASP Journal editor, provided remarks during the award ceremony.

A team of 10 judges, led by head judge, retired Gen. Lance Lord, former AFSPC commander, evaluated the submitted essays and determined winners.

The 2016 Gen. Bernard A. Schriever Memorial Essay Contest winners are:

Open Division:

Winning Essay – Lt. Col. Mark Reith, Air Force Institute of Technology; “Forging Tomorrow’s Air, Space and Cyber Warfighters”

Runner-up Essay – Capt. Justin Thornton, AFSPC Financial Management and Comptroller Directorate; “The Changing Face of the Warfighter”

Airman/NCO Division:

Winning Essay – Staff Sgt. Kesa Wood, 21st Space Wing; “Making a Better Space Operator”

Runner-up Essay – Airman 1st Class Brandon Kessler and Airman 1st Class Cameron Mosley, 45th Space Wing; “Warfighter Mindset – How do you Fit In?”

Honorable mentions in the Open Division went to:

Col. Troy Endicott, 21st Operations Group; “A Warrior's Mindset - Key to Winning in Space”

Capt. Joe Robinson, Space and Missile Systems Center’s Space Superiority Systems Directorate; “Creating the Space Warfighter, A Rapid Satellite Development Unit Proposal”

Maj. Brandon Erwin and Maj. Allen Varghese, National Reconnaissance Office; “Next-Generation Warfare Requires a Next-Generation Approach:  Implementing Evolved Operations and Adaptive Acquisitions for a Contested Space Environment”

The essay contest program was initiated in 2014 and this is the third year of the series.  The annual contest is open to all current Air Force military and civilian personnel, including Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard members.