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33 FW CC wins Florida AFA award

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Marleah Robertson
  • 33rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Col. Todd D. Canterbury, 33rd Fighter Wing commander, was presented the Florida Air Force Association Jerry Waterman Award by the Eglin Chapter president here, June 10.

Established in 1967, the Jerry Waterman Award is presented to an active duty Air Force member who has made the most significant contribution to the Air Force for the past year.

“Standing up a fifth-generation aircraft, the training for both U.S. and international students and performing developmental and operational tests that are expanding the envelope while still flying the F-35A Lightning II is incredible,” said Eddie McAllister, AFA Eglin Chapter 365 president. “Without a doubt, Col. Canterbury has earned this prestigious award through dedicated service to our nation, our Air Force mission and the Eglin community.”

According to his winning package, Col. Canterbury’s leadership over the 33 FW has led to program firsts that created successful methods of operations and training. The wing now has the ability to divert operations due to weather and evacuate in the event of a hurricane, perform night flights, aerial refueling and hot pit refueling in a training environment. Additionally, training opportunities have doubled under his direction after removing F-35 weather restrictions and the creation of a night-vision course.

“Col. Canterbury’s dedicated leadership over the 33 FW has advanced the USAF’s F-35 closer to its initial operational capability,” said McAllister. “In doing so, he has equipped today’s combat forces and paved the way for the next 50 years of future Air Force success.”

Upon receiving the award, Col. Canterbury stated that the award just proves that if you surround yourself with great people, amazing things happen.

“I am honored to accept this award on behalf of all the men and women of the 33rd Fighter Wing – they were the ones that earned this award,” said Col. Canterbury. “It was their consistent hard work, innovation and determination that has enabled us to accomplish our mission of training world class F-35 pilots, maintainers, air battle managers and intelligence personnel.”

This also wasn’t the first time the Jerry Waterman Award has been presented to a Canterbury. In 1981, Brigadier Gen. Henry D. Canterbury, 56th Tactical Fighter Wing commander, was presented the award for similar accomplishments while stationed at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, after introducing the newest single engine fighter jet of its time, the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

“I had no idea my father had won this award,” said Col. Canterbury. “That was an unbelievable surprise.”

Both father and son have held the honor of introducing the nation’s newest single engine fighter jet to a Florida base for the Air Force.

“For me, the Air Force IS the family business,” said Col. Canterbury. “Every day I put on this uniform, I do so with pride knowing I have the opportunity to serve this nation as well as represent all of those heroes that have served before us, including my dad.”
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