ACO CSEL Awards 2021 Military Members of the Year

Allied Command Operations Command Senior Enlisted Leader Command Sergeant Major Siim Saliste speaks via teleconference with the four winners of the ACO Military Member of the Year award on April 30.

The four winners of this year’s competition are Polish Army Corporal Maciej Biardzki from NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance, US Air Force Staff Sergeant Adam Heatherton from NATO Intelligence Fusion Centre, US Air Force Master Sergeant Jonie Escorpiso from NATO Allied Air Command and Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Daniel Quai who recently departed Allied Joint Force Command Naples.

“These four awardees and the 38 finalists are the epitome of what we expect across our Allied militaries: intelligent, hardworking, humble and forward-thinking leaders; they are the reason this Alliance is so strong,” said CSM Saliste while meeting with each winner and some of their leadership via teleconference. “Each year this MMOY award decision making process becomes more and more difficult, which is a testament to all of our troops ACO-wide.”

The four categories for awardees are: junior ranks ranging from OR-1 to OR-4, NCOs from OR-5 to OR-6, Senior NCOs from OR-7 to OR-8 and junior officers from OF-1 to OF-2. The program is designed to recognize the excellence of ACO troops across all warfare areas, commands and levels of experience and leadership.

“Acknowledging the hard work done by our teams is something we cannot overlook, especially given the current environment we’re working in,” said SHAPE’s Vice Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Brice Houdet. “The selected nominees across ACO are great examples of NCO’s and junior officers; they should be proud of what they have achieved throughout this challenging year.”

Packages for candidates are submitted in the early months of each year detailing the work done by selectees the previous calendar year. Therefore, packages submitted in 2021, highlight service member’s performances for 2020.

To find out more information about the nomination process or how to submit a package for consideration, please reach out to