March Air Reserve Base, Calif. --
The 452nd Air Mobility Wing, Air Force Reserve Command’s largest wing with 4,000+ Airmen, was recently awarded an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award winner for 2017. From humanitarian aid to combat support operations, the men and women of the 452 AMW supported thousands of Department of Defense taskings during this period. Their taskings included airlift, aeromedical evacuation and aerial refueling operations and could not have been successful without mission support from the Wing’s logistics, force protection, engineering, personnel and finance, aircraft maintenance, and medical personnel.
Each of these operations are pieces that fit together seamlessly to make up the overall puzzle that is the wing’s mission—Train and deploy Citizen Airmen in support of global mobility operations.
“I am proud to work with such amazing employees,” said Brig. Gen. Melissa Coburn, 452 AMW commander. “The military members and civilian employees who work tirelessly to support our overall mission deserve this recognition. They are dedicated professionals, doing excellent work with integrity and accountability.”
That excellent work is spearheaded by the 452nd Operations Group, who played a major role in the actions that garnered the award.
The 452 OG is comprised of the 729th Airlift Squadron, 336th and 912th Air Refueling Squadrons, 452nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, 452nd Operations Support Squadron, and 452nd Contingency Response Squadron. Together they supported Operation NOBLE EAGLE with 24/7 alert operations, became the model for Total Force Integration by incorporating 300 active and Reserve Airmen, 13 aircraft and 23 nuclear-certified crews to fly 1,000 hours over 1,400 sorties worldwide. The AES facilitated transport, or supported the transport of, more than 2,300 patients, providing immediate and sometimes critical medical care while moving many to higher echelons of care and safety.
“These operations took place in 2017 when I was the Operations Group commander, so I know first-hand how hard the team worked to ensure each mission was successful,” Coburn said. “Three years later, their missions continue in spite of the challenges we face in these times of a global pandemic.”
COVID-19 aside, aircraft maintenance is one of those challenges. Often behind the scenes, maintainers have the task of keeping those jets flying around the clock and around the globe. The 452nd Maintenance Group did just that.
Comprised of the 452nd Maintenance Squadron, and the 452nd and 752nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadrons, the 452 MXG was the host support unit for seven presidential aircraft visits to Southern California in 2017, providing rapid delivery of more than 60 aircraft generation pieces. The 452 MXG maintainers provided flawless C-17 Globemaster III and KC-135 Stratotanker maintenance resulting in more than 2,800 sorties flying more than 11,000 hours worldwide. Their excellence allowed movement of 450+ aeromedical evacuation patients, 2,900 passengers and more than 105,000 tons of cargo. Additionally, they let the transfer plan for Beale Air Force Base, California, to stand up its KC-135 mission by accepting and managing additional aircraft for training those maintainers.
“The March TFI (Total Force Integration) maintainers are nothing short of outstanding, demonstrating their critical skills on each and every job they perform,” said Col. Aaron Heick, 452 MXG commander. “Without their expertise, the mission would not be accomplished.”
They are not the only ones with critical skills. The 452nd Medical Group is filled with Airmen who train to keep all Airmen physically ready for the overall mission through annual physical examination and wellness checks. The 452 MDG is comprised of the 452nd Aeromedical Squadron, 452nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron, and the 752nd Medical Squadron.
With can do attitudes, 452 MDG Airmen aided the Iraqi Army with critical medical materials, loading nearly 350 pallets in less than seven hours, facilitating $4M in emergency assistance. The group, instrumental in the wing’s 2017 flu campaign, provided more than 3,500 vaccines with zero mishaps. During the March Field Air Fest, medical Airmen monitored the more than 60,000 attendees, aiding more than 600 patients with no adverse outcomes. The group also participated in humanitarian relief efforts by processing more than 50 aircraft pallets full of supplies for those effected by hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma.
“Our Airmen work as a team, integrating their medical skills to create a climate of health and wellness so all Airmen are ready to fulfill the mission,” said Col. Paul Abson, 452 MDG commander. “I am happy that this teamwork has added value to the wing’s Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.”
Integrating specialties is familiar to the 452nd Mission Support Group team. Like city management, they are made up of several organizations who work together to keep things running.
The 452 MSG leads the 452nd Force Support, 452nd Security Forces, 452nd Communications, 452nd Logistics Readiness and 452nd Civil Engineer Squadrons. Under the 452 CES, falls the Base Civil Engineer, Public and Environmental Health, Emergency Management, and the 50th and 56th Aerial Port Squadrons. During 2017, LRS and APS supported 11 presidential missions in two locations. Additionally, they processed 57 personnel who were part of southland firefighters task force to provide immediate support and supplies for 23,000 effected by California wildfires. Environmental established an air quality protocol, as a result of the wildfires, that AFRC lauded as a benchmark for “best management practice.” Force Support facilitated a 100% accountability of 4,500 personnel when the wildfires hit. Without their expertise, there would not have been the 700+ enlisted and officer promotions, 850 processed evaluations and nearly 600 awards and decorations provided. The communications squadron integrated, maintained, upgraded and migrated communications while keeping the mission intact. Behind the scenes, providing security for March personnel and assets, were the 452 SFS defenders.
“Our mission support group personnel earned that award, especially considering they overcame a 40 percent manpower deficit during that time,” said Col. Rodney McCraine, 452 MSG commander. “As a new commander here, I look forward to working with them and sharing ideas as we continue to support the mission.
As you know, supporting the mission takes a village and lots of teamwork. All the groups and squadrons join forces with the wing staff to accomplish this. Reporting directly to the wing commander, Coburn’s staff consists of offices of inspector general, chaplain, historian, command post, judge advocate, equal opportunity, financial management, public affairs, protocol, safety, psychological health, recruiting and several more. Teamwork earned this Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for the wing.
The AFOUA is a reminder to the local community and the nation that the Air Force Reserve is not the weekend warrior some people think it is, but instead a team of professionally trained, hard-working, focused, Citizen Airmen in support of global mobility operations.