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Airmen named top Space and Missile Systems Operators of the Year

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Tech. Sgt. Michael Rozneck, 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron at Schriever AFB, won the noncommissioned officer category at the Air Force Level for the 2009 Enlisted Space Systems Operator of the Year Award. Sergeant Rozneck was nominated for his work at the 613th Air Operations Center at Hickam AFB before arriving at Schriever AFB in June. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jonah Torres)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Tech. Sgt. Michael Rozneck, 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron at Schriever AFB, Colo., won the noncommissioned officer category at the Air Force Level for the 2009 Enlisted Space Systems Operator of the Year Award. Sergeant Rozneck was nominated for his work at the 613th Air Operations Center at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, before arriving at Schriever AFB in June. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jonah Torres)

Senior Airman Eric Escobar, 7th Space Warning Squadron Beale Air Force Base, Calif, operates the training simulator during a monthly proficiency training session for one of five Missile Warning crews.  Training is performed using a simulator that mirrors the operations, allowing instructors to reproduce real world events for the crews to practice.  SrA Escobar monitors the actions taken by one of the crew members using the consoles on his left.  The console in front of him allows him to introduce stimuli to the trainees. Senior Airman Escobar won the Airman Category at the Air Force Level for the 2009 Space and Missile Operator of the Year / Enlisted Space Systems Operator of the Year Awards.

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Senior Airman Eric Escobar, 7th Space Warning Squadron at Beale Air Force Base, Calif, operates the training simulator during a monthly proficiency training session for one of five Missile Warning crews. Training is performed using a simulator that mirrors the operations, allowing instructors to reproduce real world events for the crews to practice. Airman Escobar monitors the actions taken by one of the crew members using the consoles on his left. The console in front of him allows him to introduce stimuli to the trainees. Airman Escobar won the Airman Category at the Air Force Level for the 2009 Enlisted Space Systems Operator of the Year Awards. (U.S. Air Force photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Two Air Force Space Command Airmen are the 2009 Space and Missile Systems Operators of the Year. The annual award recognizes the best operators in the 1C6X1 Space Systems Operation career field.

Tech. Sgt. Michael Rozneck, 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., won for the noncommissioned officer category and Senior Airman Eric Escobar, 7th Space Warning Squadron at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., won for the Airman category.

"The Space and Missile Operator of the Year Award is an Air Force level award that recognizes the 1C6 Airman, NCO, and SNCO and 13S CGO that have made the most significant contributions to mission accomplishment in their assigned positions," said Chief Master Sgt. William Haskell, 1C6X1 Air Force Career Field Manager. "Mission contributions, education, training and other accomplishments of the 2009 winners was directly related to providing timely and persistent space effects to combatant commanders and deployed Joint warfighters across the spectrum of conflict.

"The award originated in Air Force Space Command and has been managed and presented at the Air Force level since 2007," the Chief said. "All Airmen serving in the 1C6 and 13S AFSCs that meet the criteria for the competition category are eligible regardless of unit of assignment."

Sergeant Rozneck arrived at Schriever in June after serving with the 613th Air Operations Center at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, where he was nominated for the award. The Grand Haven, Mich., native said he is very surprised by the news in light of the intense competition and skilled operators in his career field.

"I didn't think there was any way I'd win against the competition," he said. "I was caught completely off guard. For me, it was an honor just to be (nominated)."

Airman Escobar, from Corpus Christi, Texas, echoed those sentiments.

"I was really surprised," he said. "I was pretty shocked when I found out I won the (AFSPC) award. I was ecstatic when I heard I won the Air Force award."

Sergeant Rozneck and his wife, Karrie, have a 2-year-old daughter, Farrah. This is his second tour in the Colorado Springs area during his 12-year career.

Airman Escobar is married to Jessica, and his immediate goals are completing his bachelor's degree and earning a private pilot license.

"I am especially proud of the space professionals recognized this year," Chief Haskell said. "Their depth of knowledge and willingness to take on responsibility had huge impact not only in today's missions, but in preparing new Airmen for greater challenges in the future."