19th Annual Raincross Awards

  • Published
  • By Ms. Ashley Van Dien
  • 452 AMW Public Affairs

Fourth Air Force recognized their best of the best at the 19th Annual Raincross Awards dinner at the Riverside Convention Center in Riverside, Calif., Nov. 14th. The formal event is sponsored by the Greater Riverside Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the outstanding achievements of 4th Air Force, which is headquartered at March Air Reserve Base, Calif.

Maj. Gen. Derek P. Rydholm, Deputy to the Chief of Air Force Reserve, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., was the event’s keynote speaker. Maj. Gen. Randall A. Ogden, Commander 4th Air Force, and Chief Master Sgt. Timothy C. White, Command Chief 4th Air Force, presented the prestigious awards.

The 434th Air Refueling Wing, Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind., was honored as the best of the best in 4th Air Force and received the 2018 Raincross Trophy. Maj. Gen. Ogden presented the highest honor to Commander Col. Larry H. Shaw.

“This wing is remarkable, like all of our wings,” said Ogden, “but we had to pick one. It was not easy, but this wing stood apart.” Ogden highlighted a few of the team’s many accomplishments. The 434th Air Refueling Wing was tasked with support of Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in 2018 for the fourth year in a row. Not only did they meet the mission, they rocked it operationally at over 30 percent above average. “An outstanding performance,” Ogden added. The unit was a key enabler for Exercise RIMPAC, which included 25 nations, 200 aircraft and 25 personnel. Another notable accomplishment is their involvement in humanitarian support mission Arctic Care. They were able to render aid to 7,000 villagers by bringing 112,000 pounds of cargo including food, clothing and medical supplies. Ogden recognized that “it was an amazing outreach to people in need.” In a time when innovation is so important, the unit is recognized for their suggestions to formalize the Airman Powered by Innovation program. The 434th Air Refueling Wing maintains stellar alert missions every day, with aircraft available and ready to go 24/7, 365 days a year.

The 2018 4th Air Force Medical Excellence Award was presented to the 433rd Medical Group, 433rd Airlift Wing, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. Commander Col. Thomas K. Smith Jr. accepted the unit’s award.

“This unit is lean and mean,” said Ogden. As a unit they evaluated and streamlined medical evaluation processes and fit-for-duty evaluations. They improved unit processes across commands. The 433rd Medical Group responded quickly to a critical request from active duty Air Force requiring medics to assist with an en-route patient staging system. They completed eight missions, “which is absolutely amazing,” Ogden added. The unit expertly balanced real world training and met community medical needs, resulting in $150,000 cost-savings to their budget. Unit medical providers launched a training campaign called “Stop the Bleeding.” The trauma training they provided boosted the medical life skills of 85 non-medical personnel. Centered on the needs of the community, members of 433rd Medical Group donated 140 hours towards Habitat for Humanity and food bank support. They orchestrated a family day medical event at which more than 60 children were educated on the importance of oral hygiene and healthcare. Leaning forward with Air Force initiative, the unit lauded a spectacular savings of $1.5 million.

The 911th Mission Support Group, 911th Airlift Wing, Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station, Penn., received the Tech. Sgt. Anthony C. Campbell Jr. Award for Outstanding Mission Support. Chief Master Sgt. White presented the award to Commander Col. Douglas N. Strawbridge.

On Dec. 15, 2009, Tech. Sgt. Anthony C. Campbell Jr. paid the ultimate sacrifice in service of his country while steering his team clear of an improvised explosive device in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. The award was created in memory of Sgt. Campbell to recognize those who put service before self. This years’ award goes to the team that enabled and supported vital landing zone resupply efforts in the country of Syria. The 911thMission Support Group led expeditionary security efforts, ensuring safe passage of over 19,500 passengers and 3,500 sorties while defending over $4 billion in U.S. assets in Central Command’s busiest port. The team expedited critical, lifesaving relief support during Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria by transporting over 1,000 passengers, and delivering 145,000 gallons of water and 21,000 pounds of cargo to the state of Florida and the island of Puerto Rico.

The 315th Operations Group, 315th Airlift Wing, Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., won the 2018 4th Air Force Aircrew Excellence Award. Commander Col. Gregory S. Gilmour and Vice Commander Col. Jeanine M. McAnaney accepted the award.

Maj. Gen. Ogden shared the harrowing tale that earned the 315th Operations Group this year’s distinction for aircrew excellence. On Aug. 17, 2018, the crew departed Andrews Air Force Base, Md., airlifting seven medical patients headed to Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas. Of these patients, two were post-surgical combat casualties. For all practical purposes, the flight should have been uneventful. Part way into their flight, a low cabin pressure warning light came on with a voice repeating “cabin altitude, cabin altitude” over and over.  The crew immediately donned oxygen masks while coordinating an emergency descent with air traffic control. As the crew expertly began the emergency loss of pressurization checklist, they quickly discovered several of the patient oxygen masks were inoperative. As they were outfitting the patients with backup oxygen handling systems, they encountered thunder storms. While taking care of their patients, dealing with the loss of cabin pressure, and handling an inoperative   oxygen delivery system, the crew now had to plan how to divert from the storm and where to divert to. They expertly diverted into McGhee Tyson Airport, Tenn., where emergency vehicles met them upon landing. They were able to coordinate a private medivac flight for the highest priority patients immediately with follow up flights for the non-critical patients. The crew worked exceptionally well together, coordinating with Headquarters, Air Traffic Control, as well as state and local emergency personnel. They never lost focus of their primary duties and kept their patients safe while handling the in-flight emergency.

The 349th Maintenance Group, 349th Air Mobility Wing, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., was awarded the 2018 Chief Master Sgt. James K. Clouse Trophy for Maintenance Excellence. Chief Master Sgt. White presented the award to Commander Col. Raymond A. Kozak.

“The Chief Master Sgt. James K. Clouse Trophy was established to recognize the maintenance organization within 4th Air Force that has achieved the high standards of safety, mission support, demonstrated ingenuity, mission accomplishment and maintenance excellence,” said White. “While nearly every maintenance organization within 4th Air Force is deserving of this award, we can only select one.”


This years’ winning team launched the first C-17’s on to the island of Puerto Rico while transporting Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) search and rescue teams onto the island in direct response to Hurricane Irma. In direct response to the Syrian chemical weapons attack, the 349th Maintenance Group launched an additional KC-10 aircraft, offloading 2.3 million pounds of fuel to 95 coalition aircraft. Their actions resulted in the destruction of Syrian chemical weapon stockpiles, while crippling the Syrian government’s ability to launch further chemical attacks.