Det 145 Graduate Awarded First Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James presented the Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal (NDOSM) for the first time to 25 Airmen during Air Force Global Strike Command's 2014 Global Strike Challenge, Nov. 5.  1st Lt Victoria Fort, a 2012 FSU and Det 145 graduate, was one of the Airmen receiving the medal.  Fort is a missile combat crew instructor from the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D.

James approved the award in May with the intent of recognizing Airmen for their contributions to the nation's strategic objectives in nuclear deterrence. She presented the medals after her speech during day two of the symposium, held at the Bossier Civic Center, Bossier City, Louisiana.

During her speech, James said she has visited 49 bases around the world in her first 10 months as secretary, but there are a few specific locations that stick with her.

"I've had a special place in my heart and in my travel plans for our Air Force Global Strike bases since almost my first day on the job," James said. "This week's challenge demonstrates your dedication, skill, and passion for the mission ... the same passion and skill I saw when I visited your bases earlier this year. There is no mission more important to our nation's security than the nuclear mission."

Addressing a crowd of 800 command competitors, Airmen and symposium attendees, James talked about perseverance and facing adversity. Like in any endeavor, success doesn't come easy -- it's what comes after that's important, she said.

"The example you've set over the last year shows Airmen across the service -- in the Combat Air Forces, the Mobility Air Forces, in space and cyberspace -- that overcoming adversity really is a step on the path to success," James continued.

In recognition of AFGSC Airmen and their exceptional contributions to national defense, 25 medals were awarded, with the remainder to follow in the spring.

"I am very honored and feel privileged to receive this award because I really love being in missiles," said Staff Sgt. Amber Moore, a missile chef in the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB, Montana. "It's been nothing but an honor serving with maintenance teams, missileers and the cops as well. This is a huge deal for me."

In the mind of one Airman, the new medal is part of a larger effort to affect change within the nuclear enterprise culture.

"It's exciting. It's one of the steps in creating a new culture among missileers and anyone associated with missiles, reinvigorating our mission and what we do for America," said 1st Lt. Carolyn Hockaday, a missile combat crew commander with the 490th Missile Squadron, also at Malmstrom AFB. "Without us and the rest of the triad, America wouldn't be as safe."

Medal recipients represented a variety of career fields eligible to receive the decoration.