Let's all head into the weekend with a big smile on our faces. Our Air Force Reserve wing just earned a major award.
MCCHORD FIELD, Wash.- Some of the Citizen Airmen who've been here with the 446th Airlift Wing for a while might not have been too surprised to learn the news that the unit recently earned the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. After all, it's not like it was the first time the unit had earned one.
So, what did the Air Force expect the unit to do with this one? Probably put it on display in the trophy case as another reminder of the wing's minimum standards- and maybe to get it acquainted with the other five AFOUAs the unit had triumphed in years past.
But before the sum 2,200 Reservists of the 446th AW could give each other pats on the back and return to business as usual, leadership expressed gratitude in a recent email:
"I wanted you to know how much I appreciate your service," said Col. Bruce Bowers, 446th AW commander. "It's amazing what you do. You do it in spite of multiple obstacles we place in front of you. You do it without complaining and with a sense of pride and professionalism. I truly stand in awe of each and every one of you. Thank you."
The AFOUA is granted by the secretary of the Air Force to units that showcased exceptional service or achievements, which set the unit above and apart from similar units. The 446th AW earned this one based on its accomplishments from Oct. 1, 2010 to Sept. 30, 2012. Some of the feats that propelled the 446th AW to excellence include:
The 446th AW aircrews flew nearly 40 percent of Air Force C-17 Globemaster III missions in tandem with its active-duty partners from the 62nd Airlift Wing here. About 60 Reservists provided airlift support for the president's Banner Express mission. The wing sent the first C-17 to Benghazi to help evacuate U.S. troops during the Libyan Embassy attacks.
Operation Deep Freeze
In 2012, 446th AW aircrews, and their 62nd AW teammates, helped deliver about 5,200 passengers and more than 6 million pounds of cargo in 74 ODF missions. ODF Season 2012 to 2013 was the fourth year in a row they exceeded previous years' records.
Team McChord aircrews also performed an emergency mid-winter aeroevac, which displayed their night-vision-goggle skills and capabilities. Soon after the patient rescue, the 446th AW aircrews walked away with the 4th Air Force Aircrew Excellence and Aviation Week's Laureate Award for Heroism honors.
The 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron deployed close to 110 medical specialists to Southwest Asia, moving more than 1,200 sick and wounded patients from hostile airfields. These highlights, among others, led the 446th AES in taking home the Air Force Reserve Command Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron of the Year Award.
Explosive Ordnance Disposal
The 446th Civil Engineer Squadron's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight received the Stryzak Award as the Best EOD Flight in AFRC due to the heroism displayed by their members.
The wing Safety Office received both the AFRC Safety Office of the Year and the Air Force Flight Safety Award. Having zero reported Class A mishaps in the last five years, not to mention only enduring two in the last 50 years, might have had something to do with that.
Summing up some of the many accolades the Citizen Airmen of the 446th AW accumulated in that timeframe alone, proves "outstanding" is business as usual.
The 446th AW maintains that award time isn't the only time they shine. Day in and day out, year in and year out, they continue to raise the bar in supporting the global airlift mission.
By the way, it might be appropriate to mention that the 446th AW earned the Airlift/Tanker Association's Sherrard Award in 2011 for the best Mobility Air Force Wing in AFRC.