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Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

AIRLANT Civilian Inducted into the National Aviation Ordnanceman Hall of Fame

by Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic Public Affairs
25 August 2023 Naval Air Force Atlantic’s (AIRLANT) Dion Edon, the Aviation Ship Weapons Integration manager, was inducted into the National Aviation Ordnanceman’s (AO) Hall of Fame (HOF) during the annual Aviation Ordnancemen Managers Leadership Continuum and the Association of Aviation Ordnancemen National Convention, July 24-29.
Three men pose with award
SLIDESHOW | 3 images | AIRLANT Civilian Inducted into the National Aviation Ordnanceman Hall of Fame AIRLANT Civilian Inducted into the National Aviation Ordnanceman Hall of Fame

More than 200 aviation ordnance professionals serving on active duty, in government service, and retirees attended the annual event. While Edon has coordinated the last five leadership continuums, and participated in the past six national conventions, this year marked a special significance for him and his family. Edon was presented with a certificate representing a combined forty years of federal service and inducted into the National AO Hall of Fame. 

“I was absolutely surprised when the Hall of Fame Chairman began reading the background of the inductee, and immediately realized it was me,” Edon recalled, who is the 90th HOF to be inducted. “I will be forever appreciative for receiving this honor, and will continue to do what I have always done - continue to spread the word of our AO association, and continue to influence all AOs to join and be apart.”

In addition to receive his accolades, the Aviation Ordnancemen of the Year (AOY) was announced. Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Justin Weide, currently stationed aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), was selected the 2023 AOY and Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Anita Zyskowski, currently stationed on USS George W. Bush (CVN 77), was selected as the 2023 AOY Runner-up. 

The AO rating was established on March 2, 1926 within the aviation branch. The annual award was named after Medal of Honor recipient Lt. John W. Finn, who displayed extraordinary heroism during the first attack by Japanese airplanes on Dec. 7, 1941 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

“We present the AO of the Year because we want to honor Mr. John Finn, his name and his namesake,” said Edon, who meet Finn in 1989 and was in attendance to celebrate with him on his then 100th birthday at NAS North Island, California.  “That is one way to keep his memory alive and for the public to recognize his sacrifice.”

Edon previously served on AIRLANT’s staff in 2013 and returned in 2017 as the Aviation Ship Weapons Integration manager. As the former AIRLANT Force Weapons Officer, or “Gun Boss,” from July 2013 to October 2015, he knows how important it is to support AOs, or more commonly known in the Navy as “Red Shirts,” in the fleet.

“I was a nominee [for AOY] in 1985, and I understand what an opportunity it is to recognize our top performers from the Navy and Marine Corps at the E-5 or E-6 level,” said Edon, who added as mentors growing up in the Navy, “you want to pass on your knowledge and experience.”

Edon added that the annual convention helps to improve and promote ordnance safety and encourages proper and consistent supervision of ordnance safety and ordnance evolutions.

“The event is mission critical because it provides and promotes mentorship and professional support to active-duty ordnance professionals in the fleet,” said Edon. “It also improves the communication, cooperation between those professionals and personnel responsible for the design, procurement of weapon systems, components and hardware.”

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