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Air Force command post 'superstar' controller comes to AFDW

BOLLING AIR FORCE BASE, D.C. -- Maj. Gen. Robert L. Smolen, Air Force District of Washington commander, announced this week that the "best of the best Air Force command post controllers" has just been recently assigned to the AFDW command post at Bolling.

Staff Sgt. Paul Q. Piper was honored as the Air Force's Command Post Airman of the Year for 2005 while assigned as a search and rescue controller for U.S. Pacific Command Joint Personnel Recovery Center at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.

"To be chosen for an Air Force level award out of so many is truly a great honor of which Staff Sgt. Piper should be very proud," said General Smolen when he found out about the award winner.

"With our growing importance in supporting our nation's defense, the Air Force and AFDW depend on having the best, the brightest and the most capable force we can develop," he said.

Sergeant Piper's most notable controller mission occurred during Operation Unified Assistance when his team provided joint search and rescue support in Southeast Asia after the December 2005 tsunami.

Prior to his Air Force award, Sergeant Piper also won the PACAF award for controllers.

When asked what advice on achieving success he would give to other people in their Air Force careers, Sergeant Piper was quick to respond, "Never compromise your integrity for anyone or anything and take whatever standard or level of performance that is required of you and try to exceed it," he said.

Command post controllers are the "commander's eyes and ears." Base command posts receive and disseminate command and control instructions as well as collect, process, and up channel information to higher headquarters through operational reports. On flying bases the command post also processes flight information on base aircraft activities for the commander.

When asked what it means to him to be an Airman, Sergeant Piper said, "Being an Airman is very important to me. It's my life. Obviously, I have interests and activities outside of work -- but when it comes down to it -- every decision I make can affect my career."

Sergeant Piper said that being an Airman works its way into everything he does and guides his conduct on and off the job.

"I don't ever want to be the person that makes someone think poorly of Airmen or our sister Services," he said.

Sergeant Piper has been in the Air Force for four and a half years. He calls Vauxhall, New Jersey home. And, believe it or not, he says that after being in Hawaii for three years, he's glad to be back on the East coast.