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Command award winner benefits from joint assignment

Air Force Capt. Van Loon's favorite experiences thus far have been with Joint Communications Support Element and the Joint Enabling Capabilities Command. “I don't think people realize just how much the element is involved with on a continuous basis."

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SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. – One of U.S. Transportation Command's newest team members recently earned one of the command’s prestigious annual awards. Air Force Capt. Nate Van Loon, a squadron operations officer with the Joint Communications Support Element was named the 2011 USTRANSCOM Company Grade Officer of the Year. JCSE is a subordinate command of the Joint Enabling Capabilities Command


“Captain Van Loon’s winning attitude and thirst for knowledge manifests itself in every task he undertakes,” shared Army Lt. Col. Thomas F. Foster, his squadron commander. “His maturity, foresight, and professional curiosity far surpass his current rank. Nate is a competent leader who has a bright future.”


Upon receiving this award, Van Loon cast the spotlight on his team. “While I’m certainly honored to receive this award, I’m most proud of the attention it hopefully brings to the outstanding work being accomplished by our great [non-commissioned officers] every day – they are the heart and soul of JCSE and indeed our military.” 


Van Loon joined the Air Force in 2002, primarily in response to the 9/11 attacks. Commissioned from the Air Force Academy in 2006, his favorite experiences thus far have been with JCSE and the JECC.


“I don't think people realize just how much the element is involved with on a continuous basis,” he said. “At this very moment, we have troops supporting joint task forces in each of the geographic combatant commands. There are communicators in harm’s way, right now, making great impacts in supporting the joint force and providing for our nation’s defense.”


One of Van Loon’s most immediate goals while still at JCSE is to earn a senior parachutist badge. “As an airman, it’s been very special to simply have the opportunity to jump out of airplanes,” he says. “But as a leader, becoming a jumpmaster was an important step towards setting the example for younger troops and leading from the front.”


His long-term goals are to work in plans or an operational support capacity in other units with unique mission sets similar to JCSE and share his joint experiences with the Air Force.


“The war fighting assets provided by the JECC through JCSE, the Joint Public Affairs Support Element, and the Joint Planning Support Element are really unique force multipliers, in that they enable a joint task force commander to stand-up a headquarters and/or respond to crises or disasters around the globe in quick and efficient manner,” said Van Loon. “TRANSCOM’s been very supportive of our team, and we’re pleased by how the relationship has transpired.” JECC became a USTRANSCOM subordinate command last year through the disestablishment of U.S. Joint Forces Command.


-USTRANSCOM-

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