Ten missile defenders from across the Pacific earned the best air and missile defenders of 2023 during an awards ceremony on August 3. The awardees represented their perspective service branch that employs integrated deterrence against theater ballistic missile threats.
"From the vast number of crews across the globe. it's not five, ten, 15. I'm talking about hundreds of crews who do this every day." said Maj. Gen. Gibson. "This sensor crew is not only the best of the best. They had a perfect score!"
The Pacific region is home to numerous countries with complex geopolitical relationships. Tensions between nations can lead to potential conflicts, and air and missile threats are among the primary concerns in modern warfare.
An effective integrated air and missile defense system can act as a deterrent against potential aggressors, as it raises the cost and risk associated with launching an attack. Deterrence can contribute to preventing conflicts and maintaining a balance of power in the region.
"The necessary knowledge, skills, and expertise to effectively track and engage missiles as a joint force fosters collaboration and coordination among different branches of the military and provides opportunities for personnel from various units to work together," said Lt. Alexander D. Abrashoff, missile defender awardee. "They also need to share best practices, develop cohesive strategies with a shared mental model while responsible for missile defense."
The Pacific region is a critical area for international trade and commerce, and it hosts some of the world's busiest sea lanes. Multiple joint and combined senior leaders in attendance had the opportunity to remark on the importance of integrated air and missile defense.
The complete list of the 2023 Indo-Pacific Air & Missile Defenders of the Year are:
U.S. Space Force Awardee
Sgt. Kohlman M. Adler
U.S. Pacific Fleet Awardee
Lt. Gregory D. McBride
Lt. Alexander D. Abrashoff
U.S. Army Pacific Awardee
Maj. Juan F. Rivera
Sgt. Grace Lee
Sgt. Joseph Leclerc
Sgt. Dylan Coffey
Spc. Brandyn Lessman
U.S. Pacific Air Forces Awardees
Maj. Nicholas Burriola