WADS security forces member received rare Louis H. Fischer Award

  • Published
  • By Maj. Kimberly D. Burke, Western Air Defense Sector Public Affairs

The Western Air Defense Sector’s newest security forces member was awarded the prestigious Louis H. Fischer Award during his graduation ceremony from the U.S. Air Force Security Forces Academy Apprentice Course Aug. 7, 2018, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lakeland, Texas.


Master Sgt. Donald Twilley, who recently cross-trained from supply into security forces when he joined the WADS, is one of only four students out of 4,000 Airmen a year who attend the Academy that can earn this award.  


The Louis H. Fischer award was created to honor Fischer, who was a Vietnam veteran and USAF Security Forces policeman who lost his life in the Battle of Tan Son Nhut during the Tet Offensive in 1968.   His memory lives on in the form of this prestigious award security forces defenders have the opportunity to earn at the Air Force Security Forces Academy.   Only the best and brightest qualify for this rare award, which recognizes outstanding academic achievement and outstanding performance given by the 343rd Training Squadron commander.


The Louis H. Fischer Award is awarded to a security forces member who’s GPA is 97 percent or above, has received zero derogatory paperwork, passed all evaluations on the first attempt, earned marksmanship or “expert” with the M9 pistol, and is recommended by an instructor cadre and military training leaders.


Twilley started technical school as part of a 100-person team of recent Air Force Basic Military Training graduates and four prior service individuals who were cross-training into the security forces career field. 


According to Twilley it is highly unusual to have a master sergeant attend the course, especially since the majority of the instructors are staff sergeants and technical sergeants.  “I am 56 years old and completed BMT in 1985,” explained Twilley.  “I stood out like a sore thumb.”

The reason for Twilley’s seasoned age was due to his varied military service career path. He first entered the active duty Air Force in 1985 as a materials facilities specialist [supply] and later served in the Air Force Reserves and Texas Air National Guard until 1994.  After a 13-year break in military service, he joined the Arizona Air National Guard as an F-16 crew chief but later transferred to the Washington Air National Guard and served with the 141st Air Refueling Wing and 194th Wing as a Drill Status Guardsman in supply.  In recent years, Twilley deployed to Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan, and Udeid Air Base, Qatar.  After his last deployment, Twilley decided he wanted to serve full-time in the WA ANG and was selected to become the next WADS security forces member. 

Due to Twilley’s rank and time in military service, he felt the best example he could set as a senior NCO at the course would be to receive the Louis H. Fischer award and he set his goal on that from day one. 

“I was one of the only senior NCOs the pipeline students had any interaction with because the instructors were mostly E-5s and E-6s,” added Twilley, who quickly realized how potentially influential his role could be there. 

“I felt I could hopefully influence the young Airmen in a positive manner.  We had long periods of waiting together as it took quite a while for the hands-on portion of the training so we had a lot of time to converse and answer questions.  In the end, I feel a made a positive contribution to my classmates’ professional development.”