103rd Civil Engineer Airman Earns Top Honors Published May 3, 2015 By Senior Airman Emmanuel Santiago 103rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, East Granby, Conn. -- Airman 1st Class Aaron LaPorte, a Connecticut Air National Guardsman assigned to the 103rd Civil Engineer Squadron, received the Airman of the Year award during the annual awards ceremony on base April 12. LaPorte, who has been a Flying Yankee for two years, earned this accolade as a result of hard work and dedication. Born in Putnam, Connecticut, LaPorte grew up in Plainfield where he attended Catholic schooling until the eighth grade. He then attended Lebanon High School where he played basketball all four years and also ran track. Not long after he graduated high school, he began to entertain the idea of joining the military. "I didn't really have expectations about the military before I joined because I never thought I would," said LaPorte. "Then I was pushed in the right direction and I decided to go for it." According to LaPorte, one of his biggest influences is his Grandfather who is a retired commander in the Australian Navy. LaPorte has now been in Emergency Management for the 103rd Airlift Wing for two years. His shining moment was when he was able to take part in the Silver Flag Contingency exercise, an operation that allowed Airmen such as LaPorte to simulate a deployed location. They arrived to an open field and constructed a working environment including running water and living spaces. LaPorte is currently in his junior year at Eastern Connecticut State University where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. He is also a substitute teacher at Lebanon High School and a basketball coach. "I like to stay on top of things. I like to make sure I never fall behind in my civilian and military work." LaPorte said that his focus as of now is to attain the five skill level in his area of profession in the Air National Guard; obtain, and seize any opportunity to better himself. While grateful for the recognition, he doesn't take all of the credit. "It's a reflection of everyone in my shop. It's not just me getting the job done--it's a team effort," he said.