MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. (WTRF) — It’s a branch of the military that’s only been around for a few years…but a Moundsville native has already proven himself as a leader in it.

When 7News last caught up with Andrew Rice in 2016, he combined his passion for music with a drive to serve Ohio Valley veterans.

Fast forward seven years and he’s now Sgt. Andrew Rice, with his leadership earning him a top military achievement.

He’s been given the John Levitow award at Buckley Space Force Base in Colorado.

It’s the highest honor an Air Force Military Education graduate can earn, and is only open to the top one percent of a class.

His work includes protecting our GPS and missile warning operations with the Space-Based Infrared System—and his love for it motivates his 24/7 work.

“I would say my love for the missile warning and tracking mission, I know it’s very important, I think I fit very well there, especially with everything going on in the world now.”

Sgt. Andrew Rice, Space Force, John Levitow Award winner

“He’s very diverse in what he does, he’s definitely a leader, and he’s really inspired me to take on leadership positions myself, and I’m proud of him.”

Lauren Rice, Andrew’s sister, John Marshall senior

Even in his life of service, he still has time for music, and played the National Anthem for his Airman Leadership School graduation.

He says living in Moundsville gave him a sense of family that he still carries with him.

So what’s his next move?

Preparing for Air Force Weapons School, with a plan to keep serving his country for the next two decades.