Kadena Airman wins Air Force award
Striving above and beyond the norm, U.S. Air Force Maj. Mark Fraser, 18th Operations Support Squadron chief of wing weapons and tactics, was recently recognized for his outstanding performance at Kadena Air Base, Japan, by receiving the 2019 Air Rescue Association Richard T. Kight Award.
The award recognizes the individual who has contributed the most to the overall effectiveness of the rescue mission through management, innovation or other outstanding achievements.
“I worked to integrate a lot of different functions to make rescue more capable,” Fraser said. “I’m trying the best I can for the rescue mission. I care about it and want it to get better. It was nice to know the work I had put in was recognized as a significant contribution.”
Fraser’s hard work involved streamlining rescue efforts and helped the rescue mission as a whole with his mission planning and reworking, or in some cases completely creating, combat search and rescue tactics. This also helped to drive Japan’s first ever combat rescue initiative directly supporting the National Defense Strategy.
“The award recognizes the top rescue professional in the Air Force,” said Lt. Col. Gabriel Brown, 33rd Rescue Squadron commander. “It’s a big award for the rescue community. His work validated many operational and contingency rescue plans. He has also facilitated process improvements to expedite the rescue timeline if there’s a necessary rescue in the local Okinawa area.”
Working to mold the rescue mission of his local area, as well as at the Air Force level, Fraser was heavily supported by his leadership thanks to the exceptional effort he put forth in everything he did. Even with his notable achievements, Fraser expressed he wasn’t sure if he deserved the award.
“I am just doing my job,” Fraser said. “I’m glad Team Kadena supports me though. I want to make the rescue mission better because I care about Americans who are isolated due to combat.”
While, Fraser might have felt like his accomplishments were in line with his normal duties, Brown expressed a different opinion.
“This is not a one-off,” Brown said. “He will continue to ensure we’re bringing everyone home. He’s an exceptional officer and this award is well-earned. He would go to any length to help people and make them stronger as a team and I’m expecting even greater things from him in the future.”
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