Lincoln, Ne. — Governor Pete Ricketts on Friday congratulated the men and women of the Nebraska Air National Guard’s Lincoln-based 155th Air Refueling Wing on a prestigious award the unit earned. The 155th recently achieved the U.S. Air Force’s prestigious Outstanding Unit Award following a two-year period of intense deployments, record-setting flying, a successful air show, and numerous other support missions.
“This team of dedicated men and women have proven once again the Nebraska Air National Guard continues to be the premier unit of the Air National Guard,” said Governor Ricketts. “The men and women composing the Nebraska Air National Guard’s 155th Air Refueling Wing are shining examples of what it means to be a Nebraskan. Traits such as hard work, helping your neighbors, and making sacrifices are present in every citizen of our great state, and doubly so in the men and women of our Nebraska National Guard.”
This marks the 13th such award for the Nebraska Air National Guard’s largest unit in its 71-year history. More than 860 Airmen are assigned to 155th Air Refueling Wing in a variety of different occupational positions, all of whom contributed to the award.
The U.S. Air Force Outstanding Unit is awarded by the Secretary of the Air Force to numbered units that have distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious service or outstanding achievement that clearly sets the unit above and apart from similar units. Criteria include:
· Performance of exceptionally meritorious service.
· Accomplishment of a specific outstanding achievement of national or international significance.
· Combat operations against an armed enemy of the United States.
· Military operations involving conflict with or exposure to hostile actions by an opposing foreign force.
The current award covers the period of Sept. 1, 2014, to Aug. 31, 2016.
“This latest achievement is part of an amazing legacy of sustained excellence by the members of the 155th Air Refueling Wing that extends back nearly 50 years and through multiple flying missions,” said Maj. Gen. Daryl Bohac. “The excellent work that our Nebraska Airmen have done over the years is exemplified by their continuing accident-free flying record, their commitment to their state and national missions, and their belief in the value of giving back to their fellow citizens. It is a demonstration of their commitment to excellence and duty before self.”
“This 13th U.S. Air Force Outstanding Unit Award helps validate what we have long known: that the men and women of our 155th Air Refueling Wing are among the best our nation has to offer,” he added.
The statistics accumulated by the 155th ARW during the award period include:
· Flew 2,276 sorties for a record 10,946 hours while offloading 2,999,204 gallons of fuel in support of U.S. and Coalition aircraft conducting both operational and training missions.
· Continued its legacy of Class A/B mishap-free flying – 142,000-plus hours since 1977.
· Served as the lead/host U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker unit during the nation-wide modernization and upgrade of the KC-135s’ avionics systems.
· Conducted 10 separate deployment rotations involving 512 Airmen to locations around the globe, including the U.S. Central Command area of operations.
· Partnered with local and state entities to successfully conduct a major open house and air show in 2016 that attracted more than 250,000 spectators.
· Supported numerous other community outreach events to include the annual Lincoln Marathon, Cornhusker State Games, Skills USA competitions, Lincoln Public School Science Fair and more than 30 events in local schools and colleges.
· Maintained an overall personnel strength of more than 100 percent through concentrated recruiting and retention efforts.
· Underwent frequent major inspections that resulted in numerous laudatory results.
The 155th Air Refueling Wing will be officially presented with its 13th U.S. Air Force Outstanding Unit Award during a ceremony to be conducted at a future date.