Ohio National Guard News

3 Ohio National Guard members, 2 units
to be honored during 2018 NGAUS Conference

Story by Bill Pierce, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs

COLUMBUS, Ohio (08/24/18) — They’ve rescued people from burning buildings, trained and mentored junior officers and participated in community outreach programs while simultaneously mentoring youth. For the second year in a row, the Ohio National Guard has three members among its ranks who have earned national recognition for their achievements and dedicated service to their communities, state and nation.

The National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) has selected Ohio Army National Guard officers Capt. Evan Guilfoyle, of Independence, Kentucky, to receive the Valley Forge Cross for Heroism; Capt. Clarissa Gordon, of Columbus, Ohio, will receive the Theodore Roosevelt Leadership Award for Company Grade Officers; and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephen Ahrens, of Canal Winchester, Ohio, will receive the Eagle Rising Award.

In addition to the individual awards, NGAUS selected two Ohio Air National Guard units to receive outstanding performance awards for mission support.

The awards will be presented Aug. 25 during the 140th annual NGAUS General Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans, Louisiana.

“These awards are a reminder of the dedication and leadership qualities prevalent throughout the Ohio National Guard,” said Maj. Gen. Mark E. Bartman, Ohio adjutant general. “Whether serving their country home or abroad, or throughout their communities, our Airmen and Soldiers display these traits each and every day.”

Capt. Evan Guilfoyle
Independence, Kentucky


The Valley Forge Cross for Heroism is presented to members of the National Guard who have distinguished themselves by performing acts of heroism beyond what reasonably might have been expected under the circumstances. Their actions had to have been voluntary and placed themselves in personal jeopardy. This award frequently will encompass lifesaving acts.

Guilfoyle is the company commander of the 135th Military Police Company in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. As a civilian, he is known as Trooper Guilfoyle, with the Kentucky Highway Patrol.

Early one morning in May 2017, while serving as a Kentucky State Trooper, Guilfoyle took it upon himself to enter a burning building to aid another first responder in the rescue of an elderly bedridden man. Afterward, emergency medical service personnel advised that had the male subject been inside the residence any longer, he probably would not have survived. Guilfoyle was credited with saving the man’s life.


Capt. Clarissa Gordon
Columbus, Ohio

Leadership Service

The Theodore Roosevelt Leadership Award was established to recognize the achievements and dedicated service of Army and Air National Guard junior officers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and professionalism in their service to country and community.

Gordon is the commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 16th Engineer Brigade, and also serves as the brigade S1 (staff officer in charge of personnel) for the 16th, which is headquartered at Defense Supply Center Columbus in Columbus, Ohio. She also serves as a company grade trustee for the Ohio National Guard Association (ONGA).

“Receiving the Theodore Roosevelt Leadership Award is an incredible honor, and I am very proud to have been selected as the recipient of this award,” Gordon said. “Joining the Ohio Army National Guard has been one of the best decisions of my life and provided great opportunities to work with a variety of different people and gain unique experiences. Serving as the company grade trustee for the ONGA has been an incredibly gratifying experience, where I have been able to represent, mentor and build relationships with a large number of junior officers throughout the state of Ohio.”

CWO 3 Stephen Ahrens
Canal Winchester, Ohio

Dedicated Service

The Eagle Rising Award was established to recognize the achievements and dedicated service of Army National Guard warrant officers (up to the rank of chief warrant officer three), who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, technical skills and professionalism in their services to country and community.

Full-time, Ahrens is the G1 (general staff directorate in charge of personnel) personnel systems officer in charge at Joint Force Headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. In his traditional Guard job, Ahrens is a construction engineer technician with the 16th Engineer Brigade.

According to his award nomination, Ahrens has demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities and character that far exceeds his peers. He has made a profound impact as a leader and mentor in the 16th Engineer Brigade, the Joint Force Headquarters, the state of Ohio and in his community. He has continuously mentored and coached junior officers and warrant officers to become involved in ONGA and NGAUS activities and to grow professionally. He participates in a number of community programs while also mentoring youth.

“As a member of the Ohio National Guard for 17 years, I have been able to do things and go places that I would have never had the opportunity to do otherwise,” Ahrens said. “The experienced leaders, supportive peers and motivated Soldiers that I serve with have made me a better Soldier and citizen.”

The 251st Cyberspace Engineering Installation Group and the 123rd Air Control Squadron have both earned the National Guard Association of the United States Distinguished Mission Support Plaque. Both Ohio Air National Guard units have won the award multiple times, including the past seven years for the 123rd ACS, for outstanding performance in support to other units, U.S. combatant commands, training exercises, stateside disaster relief efforts and the Department of Defense State Partnership Program. (Ohio National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Amber Mullen)

Mission Support

In addition to the individual NGAUS awards, two Ohio Air National Guard units will be recognized for outstanding performance in mission support. The NGAUS Distinguished Mission Support Plaque is awarded annually to the top five mission support units in the Air National Guard. Every year, more than 600 units are eligible to apply for the award.

This is the seventh year in a row that the 123rd Air Control Squadron, located in Blue Ash, Ohio, has been recognized by NGAUS for outstanding performance in support to other units, training exercises, stateside relief efforts and the state partnership program.

“From a command perspective, I see every day all of the hard work that our people put in and it is great to see them recognized for it,” said Lt. Col. Nick Fago, commander of the 123rd ACS.

The 251st Cyberspace Engineering Installation Group, based in Springfield, Ohio, has received the award four times since 2007 for the unit’s continuous support to deployed Aerospace Expeditionary Forces (AEFs) as well as combatant commands including U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). In 2018, the 251st CEIG completed over 100 infrastructure projects and managed the engineering installation community’s mobilization in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

“Being recognized is a great reflection on our Airmen and their hard work,” said Col. Wade Rupper, commander of the 251st CEIG. “Our average engineering installation Airman does about 100 days of duty a year. That’s not one weekend a month and two weeks a year. It’s rewarding but it is a great sacrifice for our Airmen to be able to do the mission.”

With more than 16,000 personnel, the Ohio National Guard is the nation’s fourth-largest National Guard. The Ohio National Guard builds relationships around the world, responds with ready units and personnel when called for federal, state and community missions, and is an operational reserve and necessity of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force.

EDITOR’S NOTES: Airman 1st Class Amber Mullen of the 178th Wing Public Affairs Office contributed to this report.
The 140th annual NGAUS General Conference & Exhibition runs Aug 24-27.

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