The 19th Airlift Wing was awarded the Meritorious Unit Award Monday for exceptional conduct and outstanding service to the United States in direct support of combat operations from Aug. 1, 2009 – July 31, 2011.
“The Black Knights make no compromise when it comes to war fighter support,” said Col. Mike Minihan, 19th Airlift Wing commander. “Our Airmen and their families worked incredible hours to ensure those in harm’s way have the Combat Airlift they deserve. Combat Airlift is our mission, and nobody does it better than the Black Knights.”
During the time period, the wing deployed the most aircraft and Airmen for Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn out of the entire Air Force. Throughout the time period, the hard work, dedication and resiliency of Black Knights resulted in more than 10,000 sorties being flown, 100,000 passengers being transported, and 25,000 tons of cargo being shipped in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Responsible Drawdown, Coronet Oak and OEF – Horn of Africa.
In addition to providing service to the nation abroad, Black Knights also responded to crisis at home when a tornado tore through the base, damaging more than 270 homes, several aircraft and caused more than $80 million worth of damage. In spite of the destruction and devastation all around the base, the wing was able to deploy 16 aircraft and more than 400 personnel within 48 hours, and continued to support overseas contingency operations while simultaneously beginning to repair the base.
According to an Air Force Personnel Center fact sheet, in March 2004, the secretary of the Air Force approved the Meritorious Unit Award to recognize organizations for outstanding achievement or service in direct support of combat operations.
The MUA is given to Air Force active duty, Reserve and Guard units for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding achievement or service in direct support of combat operations for at least 90 continuous days during the period of military operations against an armed enemy of the United States on or after Sept. 11, 2001.
The unit must display such outstanding devotion and superior performance of exceptionally difficult tasks as to set it apart and above other units with similar missions. The degree of achievement required is the same as that which would warrant award of the Legion Of Merit. Superior performance of normal mission will not alone justify award of the MUA. Service in a combat zone is not required, but service must be directly related to the combat effort. Squadrons, groups and wings may be recommended for this award.
The MUA is not awarded to any unit or unit component previously awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award or unit awards from other service components for the same act, achievement or service. The base MPF will be updating the award for everyone attached to the 19th AW. The records should be updated within a couple of weeks, and if someone finds the award is not reflected in their records at the end of the month they should contact the MPF.
(Courtesy 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs)