USAF Honors 2016 Sijan Award Winners

Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen Wilson and Janine Sijan Rozina, Lance P. Sijan’s sister, pose for a photo with the 2016 Lance P. Sijan US Air Force Leadership Award winners in the Pentagon, Oct. 5, 2017. Air Force photo by SSgt. Rusty Frank.

The Air Force recognized four airmen as winners of the 2016 Lance P. Sijan US Air Force Leadership Award at a Pentagon ceremony Oct. 5. Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen Wilson presented the awards, which are given annually to airmen who demonstrate extraordinary leadership. The 2016 winners are Lt. Col. Derrick Weyand, Capt. Austin Almand, CMSgt. Michael Daly and SSgt. Ryan Holmes.

Weyand oversaw the build-up for Operation Inherent Resolve and Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Syria, a process which saw him support 104 deployed aircraft, four US services, and six coalition nations.

Almand deployed to an unidentified nation as deputy commander of a regional special operations joint task force. While there, he led efforts to defeat a terrorist organization that had operated successfully in that country for more than 20 years.

Daly was selected to stand up the Air Force Installation Mission Support Center. He oversaw planning activities, developing new processes, making useful recommendations, and shaping new capabilities.

Over more than 28 missions, Holmes deployed as a sole joint terminal attack controller. He supported two special forces teams, controlling more than 250 fixed and rotary wing aircraft.

Sijan’s sister, Janine Sijan Rozina, was also present at the ceremony. “Lance’s life and legacy has shown us what faith and belief in yourself can do,” said Rozina, according to an Air Force press release. “It can take you to places you never dreamed possible. He showed us what it meant to be truly free.”

Lance Sijan was shot down over Vietnam on Nov. 9, 1967. Despite severe injuries, he evaded capture for 45 days. However, he later died in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Vietnam.