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Ellsworth Airman awarded 2018 Air Force Robbie Risner Award

Capt. Patrick Walsh, a 34th Bomb Squadron weapon system officer, won the 2018 Air Force Robbie Risner Award recipient in Las Vegas on Dec. 15, 2018. The Robbie Risner award is bestowed to the Air Force weapons officer who makes the greatest combat impact in their first year after graduation from the Weapons Instructor Course at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nicolas Z. Erwin)

Capt. Patrick Walsh, a 34th Bomb Squadron weapon system officer, won the 2018 Air Force Robbie Risner Award recipient in Las Vegas on Dec. 15, 2018. The Robbie Risner award is bestowed to the Air Force weapons officer who makes the greatest combat impact in their first year after graduation from the Weapons Instructor Course at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nicolas Z. Erwin)

Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. -- Capt. Patrick Walsh, a 34th Bomb Squadron weapon systems officer, was awarded the 2018 Air Force Robbie Risner Award during an awards banquet in Las Vegas on Dec. 15, 2018.

The Robbie Risner award is bestowed to the Air Force weapons officer who makes the greatest combat impact in their first year after graduation from the Weapons Instructor Course at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

“The award recognizes those officers and enlisted members who have made an impact,” said Col. John Edwards, the 28th Bomb Wing commander. “They have gone through the Air Force’s toughest school; they come out of it successfully and have made their squadrons, groups and wings better. They have made [the Air Force] more lethal – more ready – and more innovative.”

Walsh is the third B-1B Lancer operator to receive the award since August 1992, when the bomber was first invited to the U.S. Air Force Weapons School.


“It’s a significant award and just one that captures the impact Pat had because it was more than an impact on the bomb wing, Eighth Air Force or Air Force Global Strike Command,” Edwards said. “It impacted the entire U.S. military.”

Walsh attended the U.S. Air Force Weapons School from July 2017 to December 2017, and was recognized as a distinguished graduate.


“It was pretty exhausting,” Walsh said of his time at the weapons school. “It was some of the best flying and best training that, I think, anyone in the Air Force could ever have.”

For Walsh, it wasn’t just his actions that allowed him to earn the award. He feels he owes a tremendous amount to his peers, and to Lt. Col. Joseph Kramer, his second commander at Ellsworth AFB.

“He was the one who kept pushing me to go to the weapons school early on,” Walsh said. “I kind of grew up under him. He was the one who started to see me as someone … and pushed for me to strive to succeed.”

The Air Force Robbie Risner Award is named after Brig. Gen. Robinson “Robbie” Risner, the first living recipient of the Air Force Cross. He served during three wars and was a prisoner of war in Hanoi, Vietnam, for more than seven years.

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