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Sherri Richards, Published March 07 2010

Happy Hooligans honor three airmen

The Happy Hooligans recognized three outstanding airmen Saturday night.

At a formal banquet at the Courtyard by Marriott in Moorhead, Senior Airman Erik Foss of Minot, Staff Sgt. Wesley Heit of Bismarck and Master Sgt. Shane Amundson of West Fargo were named the North Dakota National Air Guard’s outstanding airman, non-commissioned officer and senior non-commissioned officer of the year.

The three men will compete with airmen from around the country for national recognition.

Chief Master Sgt. Paula Johnson, state command chief, who selected the winners, said the award is based on job performance, self-improvement and community and military involvement.

“They’re all winners,” Johnson said, referring to the 12 final nominees. “It was a hard decision.”

Foss, the outstanding airman of the year, is the full-time training instructor for the 219th Security Forces Squadron in Minot. He joined the Air Guard in 2007 and now attends Park University.

Heit, outstanding non-commissioned officer of the year, serves as a traditional guardsman and is a full-time student at the University of North Dakota. He is crew chief assigned to the Aerospace Maintenance Squadron. He joined the North Dakota Air Guard in 2005.

Amundson, who joined the Air Guard in 1992, is the full-time fuels flight chief for the Fuels Management and Distribution Flight at the 119th Wing. He also spearheads a mentoring program.

“It sounds like a cliché, but it’s an honor, because it’s nice to be recognized for all the extra things I do beyond my position description,” Amundson said about the outstanding senior non-commissioned officer award. “Other young sergeants and airmen see that for hard work, recognition will come.”

Also Saturday night, Master Sgt. Michelle Nicklay of Fargo received the Career Advisor of the Year award and Master Sgt. Gary Weis of Jamestown received the First Sergeant of the Year award.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556