YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Eight individuals were recognized as Missile Defenders of the Year for integrated air and missile defense excellence, Feb. 12, during a ceremony held in the Officers' Club of Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY).
The Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance recognized the awardees for their representation of the best in leadership and personal effort, demonstrating their commitment to excellence in their critical roles maintaining and operating the complex system of systems known as the Ballistic Missile Defense System.
"Recent events have only emphasized the importance of the role of ballistic missile defense in protecting our country and her allies safe from aggression," said Capt. Adam M. Aycock, commanding officer of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) and Ballistic Missile Defense Commander of Battle Force 7th Fleet. "The amount of time and effort given by these dedicated Sailors in maintaining and operating our missile defense systems speaks volumes to their character and sends a clear signal to any adversary that we are ready. We are all grateful for their indispensable contribution to the Navy and to ensuring a safe and secure world."
The awardees are:
Daniel Billig from the Tactical Training Group Pacific Detachment,
Fire Controlman 2nd Class William Curthis from USS Benfold (DDG 65),
Fire Controlman 1st Class Nathaniel Johnston from USS John S. McCain (DDG 56),
Fire Controlman 2nd Class Gregory Jucksch from USS Shiloh (CG 67),
Fire Controlman 1st Class Kazuki Io from USS Stethem (DDG 63),
Lt. Kazuhiro Matsuno from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Missile System Division,
Fire Controlman 1st Class Jonathan Ricafrente from USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), and Lt. Yoshio Suzuki from the JMSDF Aegis Training Division.
The individuals were nominated by their peers and commands to recognize their roles in defending the homeland, their brothers and sisters serving in other services, and their allies.
For more news from Commander Task Force 70, visit www.navy.mil/local/ctf70/.