JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas --
Air Force Recruiting Service honored this year’s top recruiters during their annual Operation Blue Suit Arrival Ceremony March 21, 2023, an event complete with a saber team and the Air Force’s own Band of the West performing.
The ceremony was a chance to celebrate their outstanding achievements and publicly thank them for their contribution to the Air Force recruiting.
“Each year we recognize and celebrate the Air Force’s best of the best, our top recruiters and Operation Blue Suit winners,” said Maj. Gen. Ed Thomas, AFRS commander. “Beginning in 1979, this time-honored tradition recognized the first group of recruiters for surpassing all goals, displaying the highest leadership qualities, and having the most impact on our mission.”
Thomas went on to say how despite the recruiting challenges this past year, these recruiters overcame those challenges with the help of their families and fellow teammates.
“Operation Blue Suit is our equivalent the MVP award in an NFL match on the gridiron, you are here to be honored so enjoy this week of events,” he said. “As this year’s Total Force winners, you’ve clearly distinguished yourselves among the entire recruiting force—you are among the top .85% of this elite group.”
Blue Suit winners, along with spouses and significant others, arrived like celebrities under a Saber Team Arch provided by Randolph High School’s AFJROTC; they were also greeted by AFRS personnel, Air Force Recruiting Alumni Association members, and other distinguished visitors as they arrived at Fleenor Auditorium in Randolph’s famed Taj Mahal. Throughout the week, the top recruiters will be recognized for their outstanding recruitment efforts during Fiscal 2022.
These 18 Airmen are the best of AFRS’ over 2,100 recruiters located throughout the United States as well as England, Germany, Italy, Japan, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands.
This year’s Operation Blue Suit Winners are:
Tech. Sgt. Mario Soriano Jr., 369th Recruiting Squadron
Master Sgt. William Coleman, 342nd RCS,
Master Sgt. Ronald Graham, 314th RCS
Master Sgt. Terry Smith, 372nd Recruiting Group
Tech. Sgt. Elaine Tejada, 345th RCS
Tech. Sgt. Joshua Ewing, 369th RCS
Master Sgt. Darius Perry, 331st RCS
Tech. Sgt. Shane Hinton, 332nd RCS
Master Sgt. Marci Smith, 367th RCG
Tech. Sgt. Lauren Nies, 367th RCG
Master Sgt. Richard McConnaha, HQ AFRS
Tech. Sgt. Taylor Ogden, 105th Air Wing
Master Sgt. Bryan Fletcher, 202nd Red Horse Squadron
Master Sgt. Johnny O’Hagan, 140th Wing
Master Sgt. Jesse Mitchell, 342nd RCS
Staff Sgt. Andrew Doody-Veilleux, 336th RCS
Tech. Sgt. Andrew Bugg, 330th RCS
Tech. Sgt. Eryn Merino, 314th RCS
Operation Blue Suit started in 1979 to recognize the Air Force’s best recruiters for their efforts in recruiting a diverse, high-performing all-volunteer force to fill career fields critical to the Air Force accomplishing its missions. This year’s honorees represent the best in total force recruiting and have set a high standard for future generations of Air Force recruiters to follow.