'08 grad earns Jabara Award


Capt. Brian Guyette, winner of the 2017 Col. James Jabara Award for Airmanship. (U.S. Air Force photo)



A combat pilot received a high-level award given to Air Force Academy graduates Aug. 25.

Capt. Brian Guyette was selected to receive the Col. James Jabara Award for Airmanship acknowledging graduates’ superior performance with aircraft.

The award is named after Col. James Jabara, the first U.S. jet ace. Jabara shot down multiple Soviet MiG-15 jets during the Korean War, with his first aerial victory occurring April 3, 1951. A month later, he scored his fifth and sixth victories. That fifth victory made him America’s first jet ace. He eventually scored 15 victories to become a "triple ace."

 “When you go through the list of award winners, all of them are important,” Guyette said during an Aug. 22 phone interview. “To be lumped in with them is pretty humbling.”  

Guyette, a 2008 graduate, flew combat missions over Iraq and Syria in 2015. Specifically, while piloting a B-1B Lancer above central Syria in February 2015, he suppressed Islamic State of the Levant forces firing at coalition soldiers with a large-caliber rifle mounted onto the bed of a pickup, with a Joint Attack Direct Munition, or aerial bomb. Guyette also risked his life during an aircraft systems malfunction when he moved from his ejection seat in the cockpit to direct JDAM targeting. Through all this, he accurately dropped the bomb on the enemy without threatening a nearby city.

Guyette was also the B-1 flight lead during a July 4, 2015 mission to cut supply lines to ISIL headquarters in Al-Raqqah, Syria.

“This strike, the first of its kind and largest to date, isolated Al-Raqqah from Syria and Iraq with 96,000 pounds, and ultimately destroyed dozens of major lines of communication and bridges into the besieged city,” according to award documents signed by Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, the Academy superintendent.

Guyette considers his accomplishment a small part of a larger Air Force effort.

“The award is really not about me,” he said. “It’s a ‘shout out’ to the group effort and team-work required.”

Guyette said his time as a cadet at the Academy shaped his ability to handle intense situations and gave him an appreciation for the teamwork it takes for all Airmen to accomplish the Air Force mission.

“Intrinsically, our fundamental core values allowed me to be disciplined in the moment that matters,” he said. “Those values are ingrained in us.”

Guyette is from Scottsdale, Arizona, and assigned to the 77th Weapons Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.

Visit www.usafa.org/Heritage/Jabara_Award for more information.