2023 AOC Award Winners

Every year AOC recognizes individuals and units for their outstanding performance in furthering the aims of the association in support of the United States or Allied Electronic Warfare (EW), Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations (EMSO), Cyber-Electromagnetic Activity (CEMA), and Information Operations (IO).

Please join us in celebrating this year’s award winners for their exemplary service to our community!

Prestige Awards


AOC Gold Medal Award

Dr. William "Dollar" Young, Col (USAF, Ret.)

Dr. William "Dollar" Young, Jr. is a highly accomplished leader with more than 31 years of experience in the United States Air Force. In his final Air Force role, he served as the inaugural commander of a groundbreaking wing responsible for delivering Electronic Warfare (EW) and Electromagnetic Spectrum capabilities to all Air Force weapon systems and platforms through missionware applications, advanced networking, and Electromagnetic Warfare Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning algorithms. Dr. Young is credited with creating the System-Theoretic Process Analysis for Security (STPA-Sec), a security analysis framework widely used to secure complex new national weapon systems.

He has contributed to various studies for defense department organizations, including the Office of Net Assessment and the Secretary of Defense's Summer Study on Long-Range Effects. Dr. Young also served as an instructor at the USAF Weapons School and has accumulated over 2,400 flying hours as an Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO), primarily on B-52 and EA-6B aircraft.

Dr. Young's educational achievements include a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), with a focus on Secure Systems Engineering and Technology, Management, and Policy. He holds four Master's Degrees and is among the inaugural graduates of the Air Force's Grand Strategy Program. His undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Science, emphasizing Electrical and Aeronautical Engineering.


Hal Gershanoff AOC Silver Medal

Chris Howe, MBE

Mr. Christopher Howe assumed the role of President of the UK Chapter in 2020 after the passing of John Clifford, having previously served as Vice-President for several years. This transition was challenging, given the additional responsibilities and his leadership in Veteran Associations related to the UK's operations in the South Atlantic in 1982. However, Mr. Howe's exceptional leadership during 2020-2023, even amidst the COVID pandemic, ensured the Chapter's continued vitality and success. His dedication led to the UK Chapter receiving the prestigious "Distinguished Chapter Of The Year" award in the AOC Large Chapter category.

During his tenure as President, Mr. Howe introduced two new awards to recognize excellence in Electronic Warfare (EW) and the achievements of young EW professionals, and he played a crucial role in establishing the John Clifford Award in honor of John's contributions. He actively promoted EW and related activities, connecting different parts of the industry and forging partnerships with organizations like JEWOSC. Mr. Howe created a website for the UK Chapter and provided valuable EW-related materials for members. Despite his numerous achievements, Mr. Howe is known for his humility and willingness to support others, particularly at conferences and events in the UK and Europe.

Notably, Mr. Howe received the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) from Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth, highlighting his respected status within the broader community, bridging generations of EW practitioners.


Anton D. "Tony" Brees Lifetime Service Award

Son X Nguyen

Mr. Son Nguyen has had a distinguished career in Electronic Warfare (EW), primarily in support of Naval Aviation, starting in April 1983. His roles included Lean Six Sigma process improvement, project management, and systems engineering. Throughout his career, he played a pivotal role in advancing various EW projects for the US Department of Defense and Foreign Military Sales customers, consistently delivering outstanding results. Upon his retirement in 2018, Mr. Nguyen continued to contribute to the field of EW as a member of the Mugu Crows Board of Directors, where he also served as the chapter Treasurer. He exemplified the Association of Old Crows' goals of advocacy, education, and support.

Mr. Nguyen furthered the mission of EW by volunteering as a scholarship evaluator, helping high-achieving students pursue STEM education. He also contributed to the successful execution of the annual NAWCWD/AOC "Collaborative EW" symposium. Over seven consecutive years as Treasurer, he excelled in his duties and contributed significantly to the local EW community. His managerial skills, personal initiative, technical expertise, and unwavering commitment to duty reflected positively on both himself and the Association of Old Crows and Mugu Crows chapter.


AOC Technology Hall of Fame Award

Marty Apa

Awarded in recognition of over 30 years of advocacy and leadership in EW and EMSO.


AOC Technology Hall of Fame Award

Robert Bunch

Awarded for over 37 years of dedicated service to the mission and exemplary contributions towards the technical advancements in Electronic Warfare.


Joseph W. Kearney Pioneer Award

Col Christopher Fernengel, USSF

Colonel Christopher A. Fernengel served as the commander of Space Delta 3 in the United States Space Force, which is the only electronic warfare delta and expeditionary delta within the Space Force. His visionary leadership played a crucial role in providing innovative and synchronized fires for US, Allied, and Coalition forces.Colonel Fernengel spearheaded the largest space electronic warfare mobilization in history, involving a complex effort that procured 1.2K items, delivered 51 tons of equipment worth $7 million through a triple C-17 movement. In just 27 days, Space Delta 3 established an electronic warfare compound and SATCOM geolocation system while simultaneously building 16 antennas and 4 shelters. In support of the President's deterrence objectives, Colonel Fernengel oversaw the transformation of two Soviet-era aircraft hangars into an austere operations site, creating a $14 million Quick Reaction Capability weapon system. He personally played a groundbreaking role in generating, presenting, and sustaining Space EW forces. Colonel Fernengel coordinated and executed the Chief of Space Operations exercise plan, leading 60 warfighters through 32 live-fire events and 16 Weapons and Tactics conferences. This effort contributed significantly to critical data sharing between four Combatant Commands.


John M. Clifford Award for the Advancement of the Electromagnetic Domain Award

Dr. Joseph Deroba

career in support of the United States Army at the Communications and Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) in Fort Monmouth, NJ, after earning his B.E. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Delaware in 2004. While working at CERDEC, he pursued further education, obtaining a Master's Degree in Engineering from the Stevens Institute of Technology and later completing his Doctoral studies in Electrical Engineering at the University of Delaware.

For nearly a decade, Dr. Deroba served as the Chief Engineer for Radar Systems and Identification Technologies at the Combat Capabilities Development Command's C5ISR Center in Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. He currently holds the position of Chief of Radar Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Branch. In this role, he leads various airborne ISR initiatives aimed at enhancing the Army's real-time decision-making capabilities by discerning targets of interest from airborne platforms.

Over the course of 20 years, Dr. Deroba has dedicated his research and development efforts to advance the Army's tactical radar systems, ensuring that the Army maintains a competitive edge in detecting, recognizing, identifying, and defeating its adversaries.

Community Awards


Engineering and Technical Excellence Award

Marty Apa


Project Team of the Year Award

The 39 EWS Software Development Team


EW Professional Outstanding Young Crow Award

Alexander Davis

Nicholas Scavello


Professional Outstanding Achievement Award

Dr. Seng Hong


Military Service Award — Army

CW2 Justin Dugan, USA


Military Service Award — International

Mendy Erad, Col (Ret.) IDF Israel


Military Service Award — Air Force

Major Rachel Harris, USAF


Military Individual Excellence Award — Army National Guard

Captain Tucker Palmatier, ARNG


Military Service Award — Navy

LT Corey Grey, USN

Chapter Flow-Up Awards


Academic and Educational Excellence Award

Dr. Leslie Gruis


Outstanding Chapter Support

Sam Stello


Outstanding Chapter Support

Jon Ward


Military Unit Excellence Award

479 OSS Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations (EMSO) School


Military Individual Excellence Award — Navy

CTI1 Daniel R. Bowles, USN


Military Individual Excellence Award — Navy

Chef Petty Officer Kevin Fahrer, USN


Military Individual Excellence Award — Army

Colonel Eric B. Johnson. USA


Outstanding Unit Award — Air Force.

SSC-SZ Rapid Reaction Branch, Space Domain Awareness and Combat Power Directorate (SSC)


Outstanding Unit Award — Air Force.

527th Space Aggressor Squadron, Space Delta 11 (STARCOM)


Outstanding Unit Award — Air Force.

479th Operations Support Squadron EMSO School, 12th Flying Training Wing (AETC)


Outstanding Unit Award — Army



Outstanding Unit Award — Army

3d Armored Brigade, 4th Infantry Division (3ABCT)


Outstanding Unit Award — Navy (Sea)

USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62)


Outstanding Unit Award — Navy (Air)

Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron One (VQ-1)


Outstanding Unit Award — Navy (Shore)

Naval Information Warfare Training Group San Diego (NIWTG)