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167th Airlift Wing Outstanding Airmen honored

Col. Shaun J. Perkowski (left), wing commander of the 167th Airlift Wing, presents the 167th AW’s Outstanding Airmen of the Yea

Col. Shaun J. Perkowski (left), wing commander of the 167th Airlift Wing, presents the 167th AW’s Outstanding Airmen of the Year awards to Airman 1st Class Layz Simabukuro, Tech. Sgt. Thomas Laign, Senior Master Sgt. Jason Meacham and Master Sgt. Michael Darby (not pictured). They were selected in the categories of airman, non-commissioned officer, senior non-commissioned officer and first sergeant, respectively, March 3. Twenty Airmen were nominated for the award. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Jodie Witmer)

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --

Four Airmen were honored as the 167th Airlift Wing’s Outstanding Airmen of the Year during a ceremony here, March 3.

Twenty Airmen were nominated for the award.

Airman 1st Class Layz Simabukuro, Tech. Sgt. Thomas Laign, Senior Master Sgt. Jason Meacham and Master Sgt. Michael Darby were selected in the categories of airman, non-commissioned officer, senior non-commissioned officer and first sergeant, respectively.

Simabukuro and Laign each took honors at the state level. Simabukuro was selected as the James Kemp McLaughlin award recipient.

James McLaughlin was one of the founders of the West Virginia Air National Guard.  The award is presented to the top Airman in West Virginia in the OAY program each year.

167th AW Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. David Stevens, said, “These folks have certainly demonstrated that they work hard. They are being recognized for those efforts today.”

Simabukuro is a services journeyman assigned to the 167th Force Support Squadron. She is responsible for the preparation and serving of meals for the members of the wing.

Simabukuro was the head white rope while attending technical training, serving as the liaison between the Chaplains Corp and the students.

She attended Silver Flag, a training exercise at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga., and provided support during the 2017 Boy Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, W.Va.

Simabukuro is a freshman at West Virginia University. She plans to double major in international studies and German and minor in Arabic. She has been accepted as a second year cadet in the West Virginia Reserve Officer’s Training Corp there.

Laign is a water and fuel systems maintenance craftsman and the unit training manager for the 167th Civil Engineering Squadron. He is responsible for the maintenance of the base fueling systems, water systems, water systems and fire suppression systems. Additionally, he ensures members of the CES are trained and prepared to meet career duties and contingency requirements.

Laign also substitute teaches in Frederick County, Va., and is an active mentor there.

Meacham is the force development superintendent for the 167th Force Support Squadron. He is the focal point for all training and education at the wing. Working with the 24 unit training managers at the wing, he has revitalized the wing’s training program and assists commanders in the tracking of unit training requirements.

Meacham also serves as an active augmented inspector for the Air Mobility Command’s Inspector General Inspection team.

During his career, Meacham has deployed to Panama, Honduras, Kuwait, Diego Garcia and Kyrgyzstan.

Darby is the 167th Maintenance Squadron First Sergeant, serving as the enlisted advisor to the squadron commander, working closely with the flight chiefs, maintenance officers, unit training manager and commander’s support staff.

Darby, who began his military career in the United States Marine Corp, has previously deployed to Oman and Germany and is currently serving on a deployment.

Darby is a State Liaison Officer for disaster relief efforts and is the captain of the Base Marksmanship Team.

“It’s not just one person that can push us to greatness, it takes a team effort. These folks are one such example of that team,” said Stevens.