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Pa. National Guard recognizes 111th ATKW Airman as longest-serving Guardsman

Pa. Air National Guard Command Chief Victor Guerra, of the 171st Air Refueling Wing, Coraopolis, Pa., congratulates Master Sgt. Sylvester Fisher, the 111th Attack Wing student flight monitor, on being awarded the Pennsylvania Gen. William Moffat-Reilly Medal during a ceremony in the Wing headquarters building at Horsham Air Guard Station, Pa., Sept. 10, 2016. The medal is awarded to the service member with the longest continuous service in the Pa. National Guard – Army or Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)

Pa. Air National Guard Command Chief Victor Guerra, of the 171st Air Refueling Wing, Coraopolis, Pa., congratulates Master Sgt. Sylvester Fisher, the 111th Attack Wing student flight monitor, on being awarded the Pennsylvania Gen. William Moffat-Reilly Medal during a ceremony in the Wing headquarters building at Horsham Air Guard Station, Pa., Sept. 10, 2016. The medal is awarded to the service member with the longest continuous service in the Pa. National Guard – Army or Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)

Pa. Air National Guard Command Chief Victor Guerra, of the 171st Air Refueling Wing, Coraopolis, Pa., acknowledge the sacrifices made by Yvette Fisher, wife of Master Sgt. Sylvester Fisher, the 111th Attack Wing student flight monitor, after her husband was awarded the Pennsylvania Gen. William Moffat-Reilly Medal during a ceremony in the Wing headquarters building at Horsham Air Guard Station, Pa., Sept. 10, 2016. The medal is awarded to the service member with the longest continuous service in the Pa. National Guard – Army or Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)

Pa. Air National Guard Command Chief Victor Guerra, of the 171st Air Refueling Wing, Coraopolis, Pa., acknowledge the sacrifices made by Yvette Fisher, wife of Master Sgt. Sylvester Fisher, the 111th Attack Wing student flight monitor, after her husband was awarded the Pennsylvania Gen. William Moffat-Reilly Medal during a ceremony in the Wing headquarters building at Horsham Air Guard Station, Pa., Sept. 10, 2016. The medal is awarded to the service member with the longest continuous service in the Pa. National Guard – Army or Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)

HORSHAM AIR GUARD STATION, Pa. -- Master Sgt. Sylvester Fisher, the 111th Attack Wing student flight monitor, was presented with the Pennsylvania Gen. William Moffat-Reilly Medal during a ceremony in the Wing headquarters building here Sept. 10.

Yearly, one such medal is awarded to the member with the longest continuous service in the Pa. National Guard - Army or Air Force.

According to the "Report of the Adjutant General of Pennsylvania for the year 1904," the award was instituted by the benefactors of Gen. Moffat Reilly's estate in recognition of long-standing Pa. militiamen by presenting them with a gold medal. January will mark Fisher's 42nd year as a militiaman for the commonwealth.

"Most years it goes to the Army, but this year it went to the Air [National Guard]" said Pa. Air National Guard Command Chief Victor Guerra, of the 171st Air Refueling Wing, Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. "Out of 20, 000 Pennsylvania National Guardsmen, it's quite impressive that Master Sgt. Fisher earned it this year."

Fisher attributes his achievement to a combination of perseverance, commitment and honesty.

"It says a lot about his character in not only military service, but service to Pennsylvania for that amount of time. " Guerra said. "It is an extraordinary achievement."

Fisher stated that nearly the entire tenure of his service with the Pa. ANG was spent as a drill-status Guardsman.

"My only DD [Form] 214 [Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty] was from basic military training (BMT)," said Fisher. "I've seen commanders come and I've seen commanders go, and to have this opportunity to still be here for forty-something years is outstanding to me."

For a member to earn the medal, their time in service must be continuous within the Pa. National Guard. Therefore, any years in the military spent in the active-duty Air Force, active-duty Army or another military branch are not added to the cumulative years.

As a career-long member of the now-111th ATKW, his roles spanned the communications field, the 111th Air Operations Group and the 111th Force Support Squadron. Today, Fisher serves as the liaison between nonprior-service members and their send-off to BMT. His job is to offer basic military knowledge to 111th ATKW recruits and ready them for not only BMT, but also a career with the Air National Guard.

For Fisher, the years accrued allow him to better serve in his current position.

"There's knowledge I can give the new recruits to say, 'Look, you can do this, '" he stated. "And you never know how long you are going to be in, so enjoy it and make the best of it."