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Former Patrick major wins 2011 Lance P. Sijan Air Force Leadership Award

Maj. Laua DeJong is the senior officer winner of the 2011 Lance P. Sijan Air Force Leadership Award, which recognizes Airmen who have demonstrated outstanding leadership abilities. Major DeJong was the commander of the Air Force Office of Special Invesitigations Detachment 802, Patrick Air Force, Fla., from June 2008 to July 2011  Base, Fla., when she became Air Force Criminal Investigations Program Manager at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Maj. Laua DeJong is the senior officer winner of the 2011 Lance P. Sijan Air Force Leadership Award, which recognizes Airmen who have demonstrated outstanding leadership abilities. Major DeJong was the commander of the Air Force Office of Special Invesitigations Detachment 802, Patrick Air Force, Fla., from June 2008 to July 2011 Base, Fla., when she became Air Force Criminal Investigations Program Manager at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. (U.S. Air Force photo)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The former commander of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations detachment at Patrick AFB has won the 2011 Lance P. Sijan Air Force Leadership Award.

Maj. Laura DeJong was named the senior officer recipient of the Air Force-wide award, which recognizes Airmen who have demonstrated outstanding leadership abilities.

As an AFOSI commander deployed to Iraq, from February to August 2010, Major DeJong led a joint 21-person team overseeing 205 missions conducting offensive counterintelligence in northern Iraq.

While at Patrick AFB June 2008 to July 2011 she was the commander of AFOSI Detachment 802. Her leadership ensured unparalleled investigative efforts to 13 Operation Wingspan investigations into counterfeit KC-135 Stratotanker and E-3 Sentry aircraft parts. Those efforts resulted in six guilty pleas.

Her accomplishments led to her selection as the 8th Field Investigations Region Field Grade Officer of the Year and the Women in Federal Law Enforcement's 2010 Outstanding Federal Law Enforcement Agent of the Year.

"Laura exemplifies what the Air Force looks for in a leader," said Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton, 45th Space Wing commander. "We are proud of her and look forward to great things from her in the future."

Major DeJong is currently the Air Force Criminal Investigations Program Manager at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., where she transferred in July 2011.

The Lance P. Sijan award was first given in 1981. It was named in honor of the first U.S. Air Force Academy graduate to receive the Medal of Honor. Captain Sijan was shot down over Vietnam on Nov. 9, 1967, and evaded capture for 45 days despite severe injuries. He later died while in a Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp and was presented the Medal of Honor posthumously for his heroism.

The Air Force-level awards, which also include one recipient each in junior officer, senior enlisted and junior enlisted categories, will be presented to this year's recipients at a later date.