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Airman is first and last recipient of Avionics course ACE award
Airman 1st Class Justin Halpin (left) works for a solution during a training problem with a classmate during the F-15/A-10 Avionics Attack Control Systems "A" shred apprentice course which covers radar and navigation principles May 14, 2012 at Sheppard Air Force Base. Halpin, on temporary duty from the 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, Mass., is the first-ever ACE Award recipient for the course and will also be the last due to a course reorganization. (U.S. Air Force photo/Dan Hawkins)
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Airman is first...and receive Avionics class ACE award

Posted 5/15/2012   Updated 5/14/2012 Email story   Print story


by Dan Hawkins
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

5/15/2012 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Airman 1st Class Justin Halpin received the ACE award for academic excellence in completing the F-15/A-10 Avionics Attack Control Systems "A" shred apprentice course during a graduation ceremony here May 15.

He was perfect across the board for seven tests, earning him the coveted award given to students who maintain a 100 percent average for the entire course.

The award is made more special by the fact Halpin is the first ever "A" shred student to accomplish the feat.

Halpin will also be the last Airman to achieve the ACE award for the shred as the course is being reorganized as the Air Force blends the former Avionics "A", "B" (flight controls and instruments) and "C" (communications and electronic warfare) shred classes into one course.

The "A" shred class in its current configuration is 76 academic days long and covers both radar and navigation principles. Graduates gather 27 Community College of the Air Force credit hours along the way.

"This course has been in existence for five years," said Tech. Sgt. Adam Schlingman, an instructor supervisor for the course. "That covers 435 students who have taken the's pretty impressive to think about."

For Halpin, who was a distinguished graduate from the electronic fundamentals course at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., prior to coming to Sheppard, earning the ACE award was a goal from the first day of class.

"I set out to do it (earn the ACE award)," Halpin said. "Pushing myself is something I want to do, no matter what I'm doing."

There were potential speed bumps along the way in trying to achieve perfection, but nothing a bit of extra time while testing didn't take care of.

"The A-10 navigation block was pretty tough," Halpin said. "On the last test I was really second-guessing myself, making sure I got everything right. I wanted that 100 percent!"

"He has a photographic memory," Schlingman said. "We've had some people come close (to the ACE award), but nobody has had the focus or attention to detail like Halpin."

The 23-year-old Halpin is assigned to the 104th Fighter Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard at Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield.

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