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WIng member wins coveted award

Chris Malbon accepts his Silver Snoopy award for a lifetime of service to the space program from Astronaut Kay Hire Dec. 19.

Chris Malbon accepts his Silver Snoopy award for a lifetime of service to the space program from Astronaut Kay Hire Dec. 19.

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- If you ever want to know what it feels like to be recognized as being in the top one percent, all you have to do is ask Chris Malbon of Detachment 3, 45th Operations Group. Chris recently received a surprise visit from NASA Astronaut Navy Capt. Kay Hire. She made a special trip from Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, to present Chris with the Silver Snoopy Award in recognition for his outstanding achievements related to human flight safety and mission success. The award is given personally by NASA astronauts as it represents the astronauts' own recognition of excellence.

The Silver Snoopy Award, which was first awarded in 1968, is limited to no more than one percent of eligible recipients and is a once in a lifetime recognition. After the completion of the Mercury and Gemini projects, NASA wanted a way to promote a greater awareness of the impact participants had on flight safety, the flight crews and their missions. After enlisting the support of Charles Schultz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip character Snoopy and an avid space program supporter, the award program was created. In fact, Schulz himself drew the image the award pin was based on and he also drew promotional art for posters to promote the award program.

Once recognized, the recipient is presented with a sterling silver "Silver Snoopy" lapel pin that had flown on a NASA mission, a commendation letter stating the mission the Silver Snoopy pin had flown on and a signed, framed Silver Snoopy certificate. It is presented at the workplace of the recipient with the recipient's coworkers present. In addition, many of Chris' family and past co-workers showed up unexpectedly to add to the surprise and celebration.

Chris has been in the Human Space Flight support business for more than 20 years. After 12 years of active duty association with the mission, Chris retired and rejoined the team as a civil servant, providing vital continuity. His knowledge and contribution to the procedures, policies and tactics employed by DOD to support NASA in their effort to make Human Space Flight as safe as possible can only be seen as a relentless pursuit of excellence. His vast experience makes him an indisputable iconic player in the continuing success of Detachment 3 and Human Space Flight support. While presenting the award, Captain Hire said that she had known Chris for as long as she could remember and his personal agenda was the continuous evolvement and improvement of DOD support.

In order to receive the Silver Snoopy Award, the recipient must meet one of eight possible criteria. Chris's contributions and efforts easily satisfied at least five of those and made his selection as a Silver Snoopy a cinch. Although Chris was somewhat speechless at the award presentation, if you see him around the base, give him a pat on the back and ask him what his "Silver Snoopy" means to him, ...if you have the time.