Airman Soars, Receives Prestigious Award Published March 9, 2016 By Staff Sgt. John Wilkes 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard SWANTON, Ohio -- Integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do. These are the values that every Airman holds dear. One Airman with the 180th Fighter Wing in Swanton, Ohio has been recognized for his exceptional professionalism, determination and dedication to the mission. Staff Sgt. Richard G. Hitch, a security forces craftsman with the 180FW Security Forces Squadron, was selected as the 2015 Security Forces Aerospace Control Alert Airman of the Year for superior leadership, job performance, community involvement and personal achievements. "This award recognizes all the hard work he has done. Every day he comes to work and continuously does an outstanding job, never seeking recognition," said Lt. Col. Gregg Biddle, the deputy commander for the 180FW Mission Support Group. "He is the embodiment of the core values, no matter the condition he always gets the job done, we are lucky to have a troop like him." A Detroit, Michigan native, Hitch enlisted in the United States Army following his high school graduation in 1980. After serving on active duty in Germany, he returned to Michigan and attended the Police Academy, where he graduated with honors in the top five percent of his class. In 2006, Hitch joined the 180FW's Security Forces Squadron and attended the Security Forces Apprentice Course at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, graduating with honors. After graduation, he deployed for nine months to Tuscon, Arizona to assist the U.S. Border Patrol during Operation Jump Start. Since his deployment he graduated from Tiffin University, earning a bachelor's degree with honors in criminal justice in 2011. The following year, he went on to earn his Community College of the Air Force degree in police science. Time and time again, Hitch has shown that he is no stranger to hard work, whether he is in uniform or not. "He does a lot within his community, between all the volunteer work he is actively involved in, he still finds time to runs marathons," Biddle said. "In each aspect of his life, Hitch puts everything he has into what he's doing, it's extremely impressive." In the community, Hitch volunteers in a variety of capacities. He works with his local Child Identification Program, creating a safer, more secure neighborhood. He also works with his local Special Olympics and Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, building civilian and military relations. "I am incredibly proud, this is a substantial achievement and very well deserved for one of our outstanding and hardworking Airman," said Col. Craig Baker, commander of the 180FW.