20 AF nominates four Airmen to AFGSC for the 2020 Lance P. Sijan Leadership Award

  • Published
  • By Capt. Ieva Bytautaite
  • 20th Air Force Public Affairs

Every year the Air Force recognizes the accomplishments of four Airmen, officer and enlisted leaders, who demonstrate the highest qualities of leadership with the Lance P. Sijan Leadership Award. This year, 20th Air Force had the honor to nominate four exceptional Sentinel Warriors to Air Force Global Strike Command, where they will compete for a nomination at the MAJCOM level.

The Lance P. Sijan Award was created in 1981 to recognize officer and enlisted leaders who have demonstrated the highest qualities of leadership in their duties and personal lives. The award is one of the Air Force’s most prestigious awards.

Capt. Sijan, a 1965 Air Force Academy graduate and combat pilot, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his courage while attempting to evade capture by the North Vietnamese and during his captivity as a Prisoner of War.

While on a flight over North Vietnam, Sijan ejected from his disabled aircraft and successfully evaded capture for more than six weeks. During this time, he was seriously injured and suffered from shock and extreme weight loss due to lack of food. After being captured by North Vietnamese soldiers, Sijan was taken to a holding point for subsequent transfer to a prisoner of war camp. In his emaciated and crippled condition, he overpowered one of his guards and crawled into the jungle, only to be recaptured after several hours. He was then transferred to another prison camp where he was kept in solitary confinement and interrogated at length. During interrogation, he was severely tortured; however, he did not divulge any information to his captors. During his intermittent periods of consciousness until his death, he never complained of his physical condition and, on several occasions, spoke of future escape attempts.

The 20 AF nominees are: Field Grade Officer category: Maj. Daniel Beaudoin, 377th Security Forces Squadron, Kirtland Air Base Wing, New Mexico; Company Grade Officer category: 1st Lt Kojiro Kobayashi, 341st Missile Security Operations Squadron, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana; Senior Enlisted category: Master Sgt. Sean Devereaux, 377th Healthcare Operations Squadron, Kirtland ABW, N.M.; Junior Enlisted category: Technical Sgt. Ritchie Brown, 341st Security Forces Group, Malmstrom AFB, Mont.

“We had some amazing Airmen compete for this year’s nomination and I continue to be inspired by the awesome accomplishments of 20 AF Airmen,” said Maj. Gen. Mike Lutton, 20th Air Force commander. “I am very proud of our nominees and wish them the best of luck as they compete at the AFGSC level.”

Maj. Daniel Beaudoin - FGO category

Maj. Daniel Beaudoin entered the Air Force in 2007, after earning a Bachelor of Science degree in history from the Air Force Academy. Beaudoin has served in numerous nuclear assignments, leading security for United States Strategic Command Headquarters and nuclear command and control aircraft at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, nuclear-capable units at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, strategic bombers at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, and intercontinental ballistic missiles at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. He currently serves as the commander of the 377th Security Forces Squadron, where he leads over 260 military and civilian members to provide first-line defense for nuclear operations while enforcing law and order for the installation.

“I strive each day to be a good leader because I view being in the military and serving our amazing country and Airmen as a vocation in my life,” said Beaudoin.  “Additionally, our nuclear mission in 20 AF and AFGSC necessitates the very best we can possibly give of ourselves at all times.”

1st Lt Kojiro Kobayashi - CGO category

After graduation and commissioning as a second lieutenant in 2017, 1st Lt Kojiro Kobayashi began his first active duty assignment at Malmstrom AFB, Mont. Shortly after his arrival at Malmstrom AFB, Kobayashi attended the Security Forces Officer Course, where he was recognized as a Distinguished Graduate. He currently serves as the operations officer for the 341st Missile Security Operations Squadron. Kobayashi provides training, logistics and security support to one of the Air Force’s largest security forces groups.

“The Airmen I get to work with every day inspire me to be a good leader,” said Kobayashi.  “I try to put myself in their shoes and imagine what I would want out of someone in my position.”

Master Sgt. Sean Devereaux - Senior Enlisted category

Master Sgt. Sean Devereaux entered the Air Force in July 2006 as a physical therapy technician. He currently serves as the superintendent of the 377th Healthcare Operations Squadron, Kirtland AFB. N.M. He leads three flights comprised of four primary and specialty care clinics, 36 personnel and a $1.7 million budget in medical support of two wings, six major commands, 108 mission partners and 40,000 beneficiaries.

“I know I didn’t get here alone,” said Devereaux. “I’m lucky because I’ve been surrounded by some incredible individuals within the 377th Medical Group and across Team Kirtland, and together we’ve accomplished some amazing things.”

Technical Sgt. Ritchie Brown - Junior Enlisted category

Technical Sgt. Ritchie Brown entered the Air Force in 2002 and after graduation attended technical training as a security forces member. He currently serves as the non-commissioned officer in charge, weapons and tactics, at the 341st Security Forces Group, Malmstrom AFB, Mont. Brown also led his team for the 2019 Global Strike Challenge where his team dominated the competition winning the Best Marksmanship Team, Best Tactics Team, Best Mental and Physical Challenge Team, and the coveted Charlie Fire Team Trophy for "Best Security Forces Team" in Air Force Global Strike Command.

“My biggest inspiration are the next generation of Airmen,” said Brown. “In my time in the Air Force, I was taught to give back, build my replacement and make things better than I found them. We are a team, a family, so I lead by example and hopefully will play a part in inspiring the Airman that one day may be the next Chief Master Sargent of the Air Force or Chief of Staff of the Air Force.”