Ellsworth captain garners Risner Award

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Rebecca R. Imwalle
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
One of Ellsworth's own, Capt. Christopher McConnell, 28th Operations Support Squadron wing weapons officer, was awarded the prestigious Robbie Risner Award for 2013.

McConnell, who heralds from Salem, S.C., and has been in the Air Force since 2005 was selected to receive the award for his contributions in 2013, which include a number of successful missions and operations and a deployment with the 34th Bomb Squadron to Southwest Asia.

The Risner Award was created in September 1976 and is presented to an Air Force weapons officer who makes the greatest combat impact in his or her first year after graduating from the Weapons Instructor Course at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

"It is a huge honor to receive this award," McConnell said. "Seeing the previous recipients and knowing what the award represents is very humbling."

McConnell was also a recipient of the Jabara Award and was a member of the aircrew which received the LeMay award during Operation Odyssey Dawn.

"I found out I was the next recipient of the Risner Award during WEPTAC," McConnell said. "It is a weapons officer and senior leader's meeting used to discuss tactical problems the Air Force faces. General Herbert Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces commander announced the winner at the end of the event."

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Taliaferro, former commander of the 28th Bomb Wing, is the only other B-1 bomber weapons officer to receive the award.

"It is always great to see one of our Airmen recognized for their hard work and dedication to the mission," said Lt. Col. Brian Farmer, 28th OSS commander. "We are very proud of his accomplishments and leadership skills."

Farmer added that McConnell's credibility and professionalism is second to none, and he's always seeking to learn, improve, instruct and further the combat capability for the B-1 community.

"Captain McConnell is one of the most approachable and humble weapons officers I have served with," Farmer said. "Those of us who work with him were not surprised that he was selected for the Risner Award. The Air Force got this one right and picked an innovative Airman who truly excels."