172d AW Member Recognized as the ANG's Crew Chief of the Year Published Aug. 4, 2014 By TSgt Ed Staton 172d AW . -- It has been announced that the Air National Guard's top crew chief for 2013 is a member of the 172d Airlift Wing's Maintenance Group. Master Sgt. Brian Kennedy has been named as the 2013 CMSAF Thomas N. Barnes Crew Chief of the Year Award winner. "The award is given annually to Airmen that the Air Force Association recognizes as making the most significant contribution to the Air Force mission," said 172d AW Maintenance Group Commander, Col James Conway. "To win this award, Master Sgt. Kennedy demonstrated sustained job performance, job efficiency and knowledge." Kennedy was praised for his actions while deployed to India and assisting their Air Force with their C-17 conversion. His role as the lead technician during the 172d Maintenance Group's first changing of a main landing gear and his providing effective mentorship were also mentioned as reasons for winning the award. While making the announcement of the award to members of the wing's maintenance group, 172d Vice Wing Commander, Col Tommy Tillman read a letter from the Director of the Air National Guard, Lt. Gen Stanley E. Clarke. The congratulatory letter was written to Mississippi's Adjutant General, Maj Gen. Augustus L. Collins. "That's the visibility that this award has received and is an indication of how big this is," said Col Tillman. "This is the first time that anyone from the 172d has won this award and also the first time that anyone from Mississippi has won it." Kennedy's award winning efforts may achieve higher levels. The USAF Crew Chief of the Year winner will be announced at the annual Air Force Association Convention in September. The CMSAF Thomas N. Barnes Crew Chief of the Year Award is named on behalf of the 1st African American in that position.. He was a mechanic and flight engineer. He had an extraordinary career and served an unprecedented 4 years at CMSAF.