Air Force recognizes two Ohio Air National Guard wings, five GSUs for outstanding achievement
Story by Bill Pierce, Ohio National Guard
COLUMBUS, Ohio (12/06/19)
Two Ohio Air National Guard wings and five geographically separated units have been recognized once again with Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards, given to units that demonstrate exceptional meritorious service, accomplish specific acts of outstanding achievement and/or excel in combat operations. The period of consideration is typically anywhere from one to two years at a time. All of the Ohio units have received this award multiple times, some as many as 14.
“We are very proud of our 5,000 Airmen in the Ohio Air National Guard,” said Brig. Gen. James A. Camp, Ohio assistant adjutant general for Air. “When a unit is recognized for outstanding, it’s a great testament to their enduring commitment to the mission at home and abroad. Excellence is not just one of our core values, it’s embedded in the culture across our four wings and six geographically separated units.”
The 179th Airlift Wing, 180th Fighter Wing, 123rd Air Control Squadron, 200th Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers (RED HORSE) Squadron, 220th Engineering Installation Squadron (EIS), 251st Cyberspace Engineering Installation Group (CEIG) and 269th Combat Communications Squadron (CBCS) have each been awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (AFOUA) for their significant achievements between 2016 and 2018.
The 179th Airlift Wing, located in Mansfield Ohio, conducted more than 6,700 hours of flight time in support of exercises in Africa, Jordan and Hungary. Operational support included Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel. The wing also supported hurricane relief missions in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2017. This is the 179th Airlift Wing’s sixth time being recognized with the AFOUA.
“This just reaffirms the outstanding readiness focus that men and women of the 179th Airlift Wing bring to the fight,” said Col. Todd K. Thomas, the wing commander. “Our Airmen continually redefine ways to support domestic operations and the warfighter — very proud of our team!”
The 180th Fighter Wing, locate in Swanton, Ohio, has earned the AFOUA seven previous times, with this being the third consecutive year. The warfighters spent more than 3,900 hours of flight time throughout Ohio and the U.S. (Aerospace Control Alert homeland defense mission), while also supporting Operation Atlantic Resolve in Europe. The 180th FW also participated in Combat Archer, a weapons system evaluation program conducted to prepare and evaluate operational fighter units’ readiness for combat operations.
“The continued hard work and dedication of our “Stinger” Airmen has once again earned the 180th Fighter Wing the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, for the third consecutive time,” said Col. Kevin V. Doyle, wing commander, who was recently succeeded by Col Michael DiDio, previously the wing’s operations group commander. “The professionalism, knowledge and technical skills of our Airmen directly contribute to the success of our mission objectives at the national, state and local levels. Thank you for your continued dedication and service to our nation!”
The 123rd Air Control Squadron, located in in Blue Ash, Ohio, directs air assets and provides surveillance of airspace, while managing full-spectrum air defense activities.
“The professionalism, proficiency and ‘can-do’ attitude of the 123rd put us at the forefront of our profession,” said Lt. Col. Bryan P. Moore, 123rd Air Control Squadron commander. “Whether it was supporting multiple large-scale exercises, spearheading the state of Ohio’s efforts through the (Department of Defense) State Partnership Program to build alliances with our partners in the Hungarian Defence Forces, training sister squadrons to prepare for combat deployments or displaying our culture of compliance during an Air Combat Command inspection, our people have once again proven themselves to be at the pinnacle of preparedness. I am continuously humbled to be a part of this fine organization.”
The 200th RED HORSE is headquartered at Camp Perry Joint Training Center, near Port Clinton, Ohio, and includes a separate detachment (200th RED HORSE Det. 1), located in Mansfield, Ohio.The unit provides engineering assets for rapid runway repair and general construction missions.
“The 200th RHS strives to embody their vision statement to be the premier RED HORSE Squadron. They have stepped up when called for both the home and away game,” said Col. Michael A. Hrynciw, 200th RED HORSE commander. “This award validates that the Airmen are professionals when it comes to combat engineering and agile combat support. Congratulations to the men and women of the 200th RED HORSE Squadron.”
Airmen of the 220th EIS, located in Zanesville, Ohio, install long-term communications in the form of voice/data networks, ground-to-air communication and navigational systems.
The 251st CEIG and 269th CBCS are both based in Springfield, Ohio. The 251st CEIG focuses on providing communications and engineering installation services in support of state emergencies, emergency U.S. Air Force requirements and in joint environments. The 269th CBCS establishes initial and build-up command and control, communications and information operations capabilities. Both units have won this award 14 times.
“This is our 14th Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for the Headquarters, 251st Cyberspace Engineering Installation Group and we are honored to have not only our group headquarters but our aligned units recognized for their mission essential cyberspace sustainment services, supporting eight distinct global combatant command and major command areas of responsibility,” said Col. Wade Rupper, who was the 251CEIG commander during the award period. “From United States Central Command, Africa Command, Pacific Air Forces, United States Air Forces Europe, United States Strategic Command, United States Transportation Command and United States Northern Command and the National Guard Bureau, our Airmen within our cross-state alignment have provided world-class expeditionary cyberspace build-and-extend capabilities supporting austere operations within Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and Korea to U.S. hurricane restoral and recovery operations in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida and Texas.”
Added Col. Francisco Dominguez, current 251st CEIG commander: “Additionally, during this same recognition period, our units were selected by the National Guard Association of the United States as the Outstanding Mission Support Group on two separate annual award occasions for…all Air National Guard non-flying units and the group also received three Gen. Mark Welsh (named for the former Air Force chief of staff) major command selections for their work at Air Force Space Command, United States Strategic Command and the National Guard Bureau. We are very proud of our engineering installation squadrons (from Utah, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Minnesota, Texas and Ohio) and our co-located (251st) Combat Communications Squadron in Springfield. As the oldest mobile communications group in the United States Air Force (founded in 1952), from a 251st CEIG leadership perspective, we are thrilled to be honored as AFOUA recipients, whose units provide 47% of the Department of Defense’s expeditionary cyberspace infrastructure build capabilities.”
First created in 1954, the AFOUA was initially an independent Air Force decoration handed out to Airmen, and until 2004, the most lauded unit award in the U.S. Air Force. All active-duty Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units are all eligible to receive the award. Any Airman assigned to that unit during the time of consideration is able to display the ribbon on their dress blues uniform ribbon rack. Airmen who receive the award multiple times will have bronze oak leaf cluster, and/or silver oak leaf clusters displayed on the ribbon.