May 3, 2008 --
Tech. Sgt. John Phillips of the 167th Security Forces Squadron was presented with the J. Kemp McLaughlin Trophy, given annually to the West Virginia Air National Guard's top performer, during a formation held Saturday morning. Maj. Gen. Allen E. Tackett, state adjutant general, was on-hand to make the presentation.
"The 1,800 airmen in the West Virginia Air National Guard represent
the very best in the U.S. Air Force, and this year you have been named as
the top of that group," Gen. Tackett said. "I deeply appreciate your con-
tributions to our state and nation."
The award itself is named for retired Brig. Gen. J. Kemp McLaughlin, who served in Europe during World War II with the Eighth Air Force and came home to organize the West Virginia Air National Guard, which he commanded for 30 years. In 2006 Sgt. Phillips volunteered to fill an eight-month rotation in Iraq, fulfilling an historic role for U.S. Air Force Security Forces by supporting the largest and most diverse security forces mission in Iraq as the First all-Air National Guard QFEBL Combat Arms package in the AOR. He conducted repair and inspection on more than 800 weapons in 12 different weapons systems that were vital to the mission for the 506th Security Forces Squadron and the 506th Air Expeditionary Group without any major delays. As the primary munitions custodian, he identified several serious accounting errors and initiated corrective actions through the chain of command to assure proper accountability of an excess of 865,000 rounds of ammunition, located in 35 different locations on Kirkuk Regional Air Base, Iraq. He personally inspected more that 64,000 rounds, ensuring that 100 percent of mission requirements were met. He identified mission-critical munitions flaws and took immediate action to rectify the situation and replace 10,000 rounds within 48 hours and without any mission delays.
Sgt. Phillips has been an articulate representative in civilian organizations aside from those of the Air Force. He is an Eagle Scout and was named as a Vigil Member in 1990, an honor only one percent of Scouts ever attain. He is presently a member of Boy Scouts of America and serves as a den leader and assistant cub master for Cub Scout Pack 23 in Inwood, W.Va. He has received several awards for his civic involvement, including being named the 2005 Order of the ELKS Outstanding Military Law Enforcement Officer of theYear.