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Three Sharks win top honors

Patrick AFB -- Three members of the 45th Space Wing have been recognized by the Air Force and the DoD for their outstanding service. 

A reservist with the 45th Security Forces Squadron is the Air Force Reserve Command's Outstanding Individual Mobility Augmentee of the Year for 2006, while the Department of Defense recognized two Airmen from the 45th Civil Engineer Squadron for their service in Iraq and Aghanistan. 

Staff Sgt. Clinton Petit, a security forces journeyman, received the honor April 27 at Robins AFB, Ga., and will now compete to be one of the Air Force's 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year. 

"I never expected to win this," said Sergeant Petit, who has been a reservist for the past five years. He opted to enter the Air Force Reserve after speaking with a recruiter. 

"My recruiter said, 'if you don't like it, you can always go inactive'," said Sergeant Petit. He stayed on active status, however, choosing to enter the security forces career field based on the information he got from the recruiter, who was former security forces. 

There was also some family history behind Petit's career decision; his grandfather had been an Air Policeman during the Korean Conflict. 

Sergeant Petit came to Patrick AFB in February 2006 and was the first IMA to attend its Airman Leadership School, graduating in April 2006. 

"I think that what would really help anyone succeed in the military is a strong work ethic," said Sergeant Petit, "a willingness to get the job done." 

Even before graduation, Sergeant Petit volunteered for duty in Iraq, finally deploying in June 2006 to Camp Bucca in the southern region of the country. 

There he served as a gun truck commander providing convoy and route security, sometimes going 15 miles outside the protection of the base to sweep for roadside explosives. 

Prior to deployment, Sergeant Petit underwent additional training at Fort Dix, N. J., where he voluntarily took a course as a combat lifesaver, a more advanced version of the familiar Self-Aid and Buddy Care instruction. 

Sergeant Petit credits that voluntary training with saving one of his wingmen's lives. 

When a vehicle in his convoy was traveling over some rough terrain, its mounted turret malfunctioned, causing the weapon to collapse on top of the Airman manning it, seriously injuring her. Sergeant Petit pulled her from the collapsed turret, and provided the aid that kept the stricken Airman alive until she could get to a hospital. 

"He's a fantastic troop, both in a deployed environment and here at Patrick Air Force Base," said Chief Master Sgt. Mike Lintz, 45th SFS security forces manager. "He's a testament to the Total Force concept." 

Rounding out the top honors group, Master Sgts. David Moreno and Jeffery Jones both received the Commander-in-Chief's Installation Excellence Special Recognition Award for 2006. 

"Both are leaders within the squadron," said Lt. Col. Michael Furey, 45th CES commander, "both in the technical arenas, their personal areas of responsibility and as senior NCO leaders."