Wing earns second MUA

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- Air Combat Command honored the members of the 55th Wing Oct. 10 for their exceptional contributions to the ongoing Global War on Terror by awarding the Air Force Meritorious Unit Award.

It was the second time the wing had won the award in two years. The two-year eligibility periods for the awards were consecutive, meaning the wing has won the award for every period for which it has been available since its authorization in 2004.

"This award is highly competitive and by no means a 'given' for any unit to receive," said Brig. Gen. Jonathan George, 55th Wing commander. "It isn't awarded for doing a satisfactory job, or for simply accomplishing our mission. We won this award because of the difference each and every member of the 55th Wing is making around the world, and our leaders at Headquarters Air Combat Command and Headquarters Air Force recognize those efforts. The nature of our work and our mission means we seldom get the spotlight. But our comrades throughout the services know first-hand how important our job is, and this award is a sign of that recognition, he said. I salute you, and I am proud to serve among you.

55th Wing members are authorized to begin wear of the award immediately. The award has already been updated in members virtual MPF profiles and is available for viewing online.

ACC examined a two-year period, from June 1, 2004, to May 31, 2006, to decide which units met the rigorous criteria for the MUA. In the end, according to the general, the 55th Wing was an obvious choice.

The Meritorious Unit Award is only awarded to Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve units for exceptional devotion to duty and superior performance of difficult tasks, according to the awards criteria. The superior performance of normal duties will not necessarily justify this award. The duties must be directly related to a combat effort, although service in a combat zone is not required. Additionally, the unit must set itself apart from units with similar missions by displaying unparalleled devotion and superior performance.

The 55th Wing set itself apart from other units competing for the award through the incredible volume of combat related support it offers around the world, according to Capt. Angela Edmondson, 55th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. During the time period covered by the award, the wing flew more than 10,000 sorties and 60,000 flight hours, while maintaining a 97-percent effectiveness rate. In addition, Captain Edmondson said, the wing provided the President of the United States and Theater Combatant Commanders superior Electronic Attack, Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.

The 55th Wing is the most diverse and heavily tasked Wing in the Air Force, and the only Air Force Wing with continuous operations, maintenance, and aircraft presence in the Central Command Area of Responsibility since the first Gulf War. We never left, said Capt Edmondson.