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Honor Guard member named one of ‘Top 5 Massachusetts Airmen’

Cram wins AFA award

Tech. Sgt. Paul Cram leads an Honor Guard detail during a ceremony on base in 2016. Cram, who is NCO in charge of the Patriot Honor Guard, is one of the Air Force Association of Massachusetts’ “Top 5 Massachusetts Airmen.” He will receive his award along with four other Airmen serving in the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves during a ceremony Nov. 4 at the U.S.S. Constitution Museum in Charlestown, Mass. (U.S. Air Force photo by Linda LaBonte Britt)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – A noncommissioned officer assigned to the 66th Force Support Squadron is one of the Air Force Association of Massachusetts’ “Top 5 Massachusetts Airmen.”

Tech. Sgt. Paul Cram, who is NCO in charge of the Patriot Honor Guard, will receive his award along with four other Airmen serving in the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves during a ceremony Nov. 4 at the U.S.S. Constitution Museum in Charlestown, Mass.

Joseph P. Bisognano, the president of Massachusetts AFA, announced the five winners via an email to senior leaders.

“Each of these Airmen not only performs their duties at an exceptionally high-level, they are incredibly active in their respective communities,” he said. “I couldn’t be prouder to announce this year’s winners and look forward to celebrating their accomplishments in November with their family, friends and colleagues.”

Cram spoke about the significance of receiving the award.

“Winning this award is humbling, considering the state’s deep-rooted history providing total force support and the number of Airmen wearing the uniform throughout the state,” he said. “I work directly with Air National Guard and Reserve members on a daily basis, and without their efforts, Hanscom's Honor Guard would not be able to cover its vast geographic area for military funeral honors.”

Nominating Cram was Master Sgt. Kevin Connors, superintendent of the Patriot Honor Guard team and Cram’s supervisor.

“Technical Sergeant Cram is a multifaceted, transformational leader who excels across a broad spectrum of mission critical duties at Hanscom,” Connors said. “His breadth of impact is indisputable, as seen by his oversight of over 2,600 military funeral honors in New England and upstate New York, working directly with seven Air National Guard and Reserve bases.”

In addition to his role within the honor guard team, Cram is the base’s mortuary technician.

“He facilitated three cases this year alone, while efficiently syncing the Patriot Honor Guard and mortuary entitlements for grieving Air Force families,” Connors said. “During a recent tragedy involving an Otis Air National Guard member, Sergeant Cram selflessly aided an inexperienced mortuary team with minimal notice, arriving at the next of kin’s residence within 24 hours of initial death notification.”

Throughout the award period, Cram led 76 veteran funerals, three active duty full honors and two dignified arrivals.

Additionally, he was named the 66th Force Support Squadron NCO of the Year 2016 and the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Honor Guard Program Manager of the Year 2016.

To learn more about the event in November, or how to attend, contact Bisognano at 978-727-2098 or by email at jbisognano@msn.com.

Other Airmen selected are: Chief Master Sgt. Patrick S. Connors, 439th Airlift Wing, Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass.; Master Sgt. Manny Escobar, 102nd Intelligence Wing, Otis Air National Guard Base, Mass.; Master Sgt. Justin R. Gamache, 6th Space Warning Squadron, Cape Cod Air Force Station; and Staff Sgt. John R. Tourtellotte, 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes Air National Guard Base, Mass.