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Wing receives awards

Battle Creek ANGB -- The 110th Fighter Wing recently received three national awards for outstanding performance. The honors, presented by the Air Force Association and the National Guard Association of the United States, are awarded to the winning units after intense scrutiny.  These nomination packages submitted for consideration by other Air National Guard units throughout the Unites States as part of the Special Awards and Trophies Program.

The AFA presented the "Outstanding Air National Guard Flying Unit" to the 110th at its 24th Annual Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 15, 2008. This annual award is given to an Air National Guard unit in recognition of its outstanding airmanship.

The Wing received two additional awards from the NGAUS: The Winston P. Wilson Trophy and the Maj. Gen. John Pesch Flight Safety Trophy. The awards were presented at the 130th NGAUS General Conference on September 20-22 in Baltimore.
The Winston P. Wilson Trophy is named for first National Guard Bureau Chief and is awarded for the outstanding ANG unit equipped with jet fighters or reconnaissance aircraft. The Wing's pivotal role in the A10C upgrade - the first major reconfiguration since the weapon system's development in the 1970's - and its superb performance during its combat deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan clearly made an impact.

The Pesch Flight Safety award is given to two units each year for demonstrating the highest standard of flight safety. The 110th safety accomplishments include more than 56,000 mishap-free hours over 13 years. 

During this time the 110th supported five major overseas deployments, three of which were for combat support. In 2007 alone, the Wing flew nearly 3500 hours with its 17 aircraft. The Wing flew nearly 540 combat sorties, expending more than 15 tons of munitions with a very high weapons effectiveness rate. Perhaps most impressively, the Wing deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan was accomplished without a single safety incident to personnel, aircraft or supporting equipment.

The Pesch Flight Safety award recognizes the degree to which members have integrated safety into their daily lives, identifying potential problems and developing appropriate solutions to resolve them.

"It just shows the consistency of the Wing's emphasis on safety," said Weapons Safety Manager Master Sgt. Mike Labruzzy. "It's a great way to usher in a new airframe."

The award also vindicates the intense effort of members to refocus on safety after concerns emerged in the spring of 2007.  A spate of minor mishaps resulted in an additional traditional Ground Safety Representative position and, as the awards demonstrate, the Wing has emerged with a nationally-recognized attentiveness to safety issues.

A review of Wing records indicates that this year's "three-fer" is without precedent.

From its inception, the 110th has earned national honors. Shortly after its foundation, the 172nd Fighter Squadron (the parent organization of the present wing) received the first Spaatz Trophy, which recognized it as the most outstanding squadron in each existing Air Guard Wing. The award was named in honor of a former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, General Carl S. Spaatz, and was presented by the National Guard Bureau. In 1967 the award transitioned to NGAUS and is currently presented to the overall outstanding flying unit in the Air National Guard.

This year is apparently the first time the Wing has earned multiple national honors.

Col. Rodger F. Seidel, commander of the 110th Fighter Wing, expressed his pride in the men and women of the 110th. "We have worked very hard to earn this recognition," he said. "In the midst of numerous challenges such as deployments and a pending mission change, this is especially rewarding."