Senior Airman Dhruva Poluru serves as member of 222nd Command and Control Squadron
New York National Guard Press Release
A young Airman assigned to the 107th Attack Wing, based at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, has been named Airman of the Year for 2023 by the 100,000-member Air National Guard.
Senior Airman Dhruva Poluru, who joined the New York Air National Guard in 2019, is assigned to the 107th Attack Wing's 222nd Command and Control Squadron, which is located in Rome.
The 222nd provides personnel to work with the National Reconnaissance Office, the agency which runs America's space surveillance systems.
Poluru tracks the orbits of American satellites and those of other nations to ensure the security of U.S. space systems.
Poluru, who lives in Herndon, Virginia, serves as a mission crew chief and is a full-time Guardsman working at the National Reconnaissance Office in Chantilly, Virginia.
He is responsible for orbital threat analysis, and for the command and control of over 85 commercial data providers and orbital analysts who contribute to the U.S. Space Force's space protection and space defense missions.
Poluru also serves as the primary government representative to a team of 190 military, contractor, and international analysts geographically dispersed which provide space domain awareness support to the commander, U.S. Space Command.
He has also been involved in meetings with Brazilian military officials to discuss space information sharing as part of the New York National Guard's state partnership program agreement with the Brazilian military.
"We are incredibly proud of Poluru winning the Airman of the Year Award for the entire Air National Guard,” said Col. Andrew Carlson, 107th Attack Wing commander. "His demonstration of dedication, hard work, innovation and ambassadorship is a great reflection of what the 107th Attack Wing is all about.”
Poluru graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo with a bachelor's degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering in 2022. After attending undergraduate school in Buffalo, he moved to Herndon while assigned to the 222d Command and Control Squadron.
His awards include the Air and Space Commendation Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Remote Combat Effects Campaign Medal, Outstanding Airman of the Year Ribbon, the National Defense Service Ribbon, and the Air and Space Achievement Medal.
"The work that Poluru has done, the impact goes well outside the 222d Command and Control Squadron," said the 222nd Command Chief Master Sgt. Stephen Davies. "His commitment to space operations tradecraft and overall professional development as an airman is extremely motivating.”
Poluru is credited as being instrumental in several projects, including delivering high-profile operations briefs with Brazilian Air Force command staff during state partnership events, managing roughly $150 million worth of U.S. Space Force assets, and preparing his team for the Air National Guard's first-ever participation in a key war game.
"To see that the work that I do being recognized, even working remotely, and leadership from all around the world seeing the results of my work means more than I can express," Poluru said.
Poluru said he also made time to organize a 72-member charity golf event, the proceeds of which supported an impoverished athletics program in Hyderabad, India.
"I truly enjoy what I do for all the different organizations I support, and I'm glad I can bring my technical background and expertise into it," he said.