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National safety award presented to Utah Air Guardsman

Capt. Todd Lobato, 299th Range Control Squadron, Air Traffic Control Training chief, receives the Outstanding Safety Achievement Award for the Air National Guard from Brig. Gen. David Hooper, Assistant Adjutant General for Air, Utah ANG, in October 2008.

Capt. Todd Lobato, 299th Range Control Squadron, Air Traffic Control Training chief, receives the Outstanding Safety Achievement Award for the Air National Guard from Brig. Gen. David Hooper, Assistant Adjutant General for Air, Utah ANG, in October 2008.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -- Considered the "Heisman" trophy of safety, Capt. Todd Lobato, Air Traffic Control Training chief for the 299th Range Control Squadron, was honored with the Outstanding Safety Achievement Award for the Air National Guard in August 2008.

This national recognition was presented to Brig. Gen. David M. Hooper, Assistant Adjutant General for Air, Utah ANG, by Gen. Craig R. McKinley, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, at a recent ceremony at Volk Field, Wisconsin. This award recognizes a field unit individual for outstanding ANG safety program management contributions or achievements during the fiscal year.

Captain Lobato was certainly surprised by the recognition.

"It was quite an honor to be recognized by General McKinley and to receive one of his coins," he said.

This national recognition came as a result of the development of a Mid-Air Collision Avoidance program utilized by the Hill Air Force Base safety office, the 151st Air Refueling Wing and the Utah Test and Training Range. It has since been expanded to a number of agencies across the region. Captain Lobato received the award from General Hooper in October.

"It would do me an injustice to not acknowledge Master Sgt. Hugh Marstella, who for the past three years, has been someone I could rely on to ensure the MACA program developed the way it did," said Captain Lobato. "Over the past few years through the MACA program, well over 5,000 pilots have been briefed about the potential safety issues of flying in and around Special Use Airspace."

Lt. Col. Lisa Berente, 151st ARW chief of safety, explained, "This recognition reaffirms what we have always known, our Guardsman go above and beyond in their dedication to safe mission accomplishment. It is an extra credit to the tireless, professional efforts of Captain Lobato that he, as a traditional Guardsman, was able to compete so strongly on a national level against full-time safety professionals."

Captain Lobato summed up his feelings about the award by saying, " Lt Col. Lisa Berente is a class act for submitting me for this award, and by acknowledging the years of hard work that has been put in to making the MACA program the best in the ANG if not the entire Air Force."