Georgia Air Guardsmen earn top honors for engineering installation awards
By By Barry Bena, 116th Air Control Wing
/ Published March 26, 2020
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Three Guardsmen from the Georgia Air National Guard’s 202d Engineering Installation Squadron, were recently selected as the best of the best out of all 16 Air Force engineering installation squadrons.
Senior Master Sgt. Mark Buchanan was chosen as the Base Level Cyberspace Systems Integrator of the Year, Senior Master Sgt. Andrew Jones was selected as the Senior Support Member of the Year, and Tech. Sgt. Antonio Qualls was chosen as the Installer of the Year. Additionally, 202d EIS personnel placed second in five of the remaining six categories.
Jones joined the Air National Guard in 1982 before transitioning to active duty after only six months. After completing his active duty obligation, he separated from the military for 10 years. He missed the service and decided to re-enlist into the Air National Guard again in 1998 and became a full-time Guardsman in 2004, where he currently supervises the heavy equipment maintenance shop.
For support personnel, a strong package has to include ways to save money, manage vehicles with limited budgets, manage deployments and excel in training, Jones mentioned.
Jones, a two-time winner of the senior support member of the year, is humbled to win again.
“I’m flattered someone would think enough of me to put me in for it twice and take the time to write it,” he chuckled. “A lot of work goes into writing up one of the packages so to be selected is truly an honor.”
Buchanan has served approximately 35 years, with 32 in the 202d. He claimed his increased workload due to attrition had a big part in his winning the award.
“It all has to do with our workload and OPSTEMPO,” said Buchanan. “This is typically a two-person job I’m doing by myself, due to being short manned because of attrition and retirements. In addition, this job requires a lot of travel to include quarterly wing visits and annual visits to the geographically separated units.”
Buchanan also stated the 202d EIS leadership should be recognized as they put in a lot of time to nominate personnel for these awards.
“Maj. Swann and the few officers here are adamant about writing these awards packages,” said Buchanan. “They go out of their way to do a lot of work for it.”
The 202d EIS installs, repairs and services sophisticated command, control, communications, computers and information technology infrastructure for DOD installations worldwide.
“The 202d have proven records, training and executing business plans stateside and deploying and supporting warfighters in multiple theaters,” said Col. Kimberly Ainsworth, 116th Mission Support Group commander. “Bottom line, the 202d rocks and the MSG, and state leadership are all super proud of their continued success.”