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McChord reservists earn Aircrew Excellence Award

U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Donald Traud

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Air Force Reservists from the 446th Airlift Wing here were awarded the 4th Air Force 2011 Aircrew Excellence Award during the annual Raincross Trophy Dinner at the Riverside Convention Center, Riverside, Calif., Nov. 7.

The award winners were aircrew members, Lt. Col. Montgomery McDaniel, 728th Airlift Squadron, Maj. John Caplinger, 313th Airlift Squadron, Maj. Tim Davis, 728th AS, Chief Master Sgt. Jim Masura, 446th Operations Group, and Senior Master Sgt. Marshall Dellinger, 728th AS.

The award, which is given to the 4th Air Force aircrew who demonstrates notable dedication and commitment to the Air Force's air, space, and cyberspace mission, was presented as part of the 4th Air Force Commander's Conference events.

"(Col. Bruce Bowers, 446th AW commander) and I couldn't be more proud of the Team McChord crewmembers and their receipt of the 2011 Aircrew Excellence Award," said Col. Richard Grayson, 446th AW vice commander. "Their heroic efforts and superb performance are indicative of the outstanding Airmen we have in the 446th AW and the amazing work they do around the world, day in and day out."

In late June 2011, a civilian research contractor, working under the National Science Foundation at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, became ill. Due to the inability for the contractor to receive adequate care, the NSF, with help from U.S. Transportation Command, planned an aeromedical evacuation. Once the AE mission was cleared, TRANSCOM tasked McChord with performing the mission.

When the McChord crew, which was a combined crew of Reservists and active-duty aircrew members from the 62nd Airlift Wing here, was assembled, they were airborne in less than 16 hours.

After landing at Christchurch, New Zealand, the crew prepared to embark for Antarctica immediately after the minimum flying weather conditions was met.

On June 30, the McChord crew departed for what turned out to be the first C-17 Globemaster III mid-winter Antarctic mission. After a night-vision-goggle landing at Pegasus Air Field, Antarctica, the loadmasters and critical care air transport team had the patient loaded in less than 45 minutes.

From the time the crew departed McChord Field for the 9,100-mile trip it took less than 48 hours to get the patient admitted into the hospital in Christchurch.

In addition to the AE mission, the crew also delivered supplies to the people at McMurdo Station. Mail, fruit, vegetables, and other goods were delivered in order to boost morale for the residents.

Photo: Col. Bruce Bowers (center), 446th Airlift Wing commander and Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Mack (right), 446th AW command chief, accept the 2011 Aircrew Excellence Award during the Raincross Trophy Dinner, at the Riverside Convention Center, Riverside, Calif., Nov. 7, 2012.

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