Vieregge Receives Prestigious Air Force Awards

Nicole Rogers

Vieregge Receives Prestigious Air Force Awards

3 mins
November 17, 2021

Sacia Vieregge, daughter of Christine and Don Vieregge, Hudson and granddaughter of Marilyn and Dennis Ovyn, Withee, has recently been coined and presented the Lance P. Sijan Award by Major General Bret Larson, Commander of the 22nd Air Force. The awards were given Saturday and Sunday, November 6 and 7, 2021 at the 934th Air Wing Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron in Minneapolis, MN. Senior Airman Sacia’s squadron kept this a secret for months and even surprised her by having her parents join in the ceremony. 

According to the AF, “The Lance P. Sijan USAF Leadership Award was created in 1981 to recognize individuals who have demonstrated the highest qualities of leadership in their jobs and in their lives. It has become one of the U.S. Air Force's most prestigious awards. Sijan, an Air Force captain and fighter pilot, died while a POW in Vietnam. Prior to his capture, the United States Air Force Academy graduate and posthumous Medal of Honor recipient evaded the North Vietnamese for six weeks after being shot down in November 1967.”

Major General John P. Healy wrote the following letter to Sacia’s proud parents: Senior Airman Sacia D. Vieregge, assigned to the 934th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, has been selected as the 22nd Air Force nominee for the Junior Enlisted Lance P. Sijan U.S. Air Force Leadership Award. Senior Airman Vieregge was chosen based on her many outstanding accomplishments in the aeromedical career field this past year. Please extend our congratulations and appreciation to this deserving individual.”

Sacia was also very honored to be presented with an Aerial Achievement medal for her service during COVID operations deployment last year. The Aerial Achievement Medal was given Sacia stated,

Senior Airman Sacia D. Vieregge distinguished herself by meritorious achievement while participating in sustained aerial flight as an Aeromedical Evacuation Technician, 10th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Flight, 721st Mobility Support Squadron, 721st Air Mobility Operation Group while in Air Base, Germany from May 15 to July 28, 2020. During this period, she was part of a unit that transported infectious disease patients. On a particularly challenging mission she served as the Charge Medical Technician. 

 Senior Airman Sacia Vieregge receiving honors by Major General Bret Larson, Commander of the 22nd Air Force while parents Chris and Don Vieregge stand proudly beside her.

Air Force History

Sacia enlisted in the Air Force National Guard on March 17, 2017. From April 15 to September 21, 2021, she was deployed to Ramstein Germany in support of operations Inherent Resolve and Freedoms Sentinel transporting COVID-19 positive military members from down range back to Ramstein to receive higher echelon of care via transportation isolation system in C-17’s. Her present title is Aeromedical Evacuation Technician or flight medic. This position involves monitoring safety and security of patients, crew and the aircraft during in-flight and ground operations. Sacia also operates specialized aircraft life support equipment, medical devices and aircraft systems related to patient care. She instructs EMT Refresher courses and is a BLS instructor for her squadron. 

Current Status

Sacia has recently moved to Denver, CO, where she is beginning school at Metropolitan State University Denver enrolled in the Aviation and Aerospace Science, Bachelor of Science program with the concentration in Professional Pilot.

Sacia was very humbled and honored to receive both awards and had this to say,

“I am thankful to my AE family and mentors throughout my career who have helped shape and guide me to be the airman I am today. I have been so very blessed in my Air Force career because of you all. Special thanks to my parents for the constant love and support and for being there for me on this momentous day.” 

Sacia has a squadron of proud family and friends in the Owen-Withee area and beyond who share in the joy of her impressive accomplishments. Congratulations, Sacia and thank you for your service!

Colonel Staudenmaier and Senior Airman Vieregge with her Aerial Achievement Award. (Photo courtesy of Chris Vieregge)

This article was orginally reported by
Nicole Rogers

Nicole Rogers, lives in Owen, WI, and is the co-editor for the Sentinel & Rural News.