916 Maintainers Earn Coveted Award

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Nestor Cruz
  • 916th Air Refueling Wing
Reserve Citizen Airmen with the 916th Air Refueling Wing were recently recognized at this year’s Airlift/Tanker Association symposium in Dallas, Texas for earning the coveted Lt Gen James E. Sherrard III Outstanding Unit Award.  
The award is presented on an annual basis to a wing or group within the Air Force Reserve Command that distinguishes itself through performance and support of the Mobility Air Forces mission. A contingent of wing leaders and aircraft maintainers traveled to the Lone Star State to accept the award on behalf of the wing.  
“It was a great experience,” said Staff Sgt. Steven Potts, 916th Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintenance craftsman. “Being recognized in front of many different wings brings pride and confidence. It really ‘re-blues’ you and gives you a different perspective.” 
The wing received the award for its accomplishments from July 2017 to June 2018. Within that time frame, the 916th executed more than 760 sorties, clocked more than 4,500 flight hours, and maintained the AFRC’s number one KC-135 flying hour program three years in a row. Furthermore, 916th Airmen launched 1,240 combat missions, dispersed 30 million pounds of fuel to enable 2,200 strikes on enemy targets, and increased overall readiness from 45 to 94 percent.  
“On day-to-day operations, we ensure that we give 110 percent, meaning we are very thorough and we take pride in our work,” Potts said. “It’s about quality and quantity, and putting in the blood, sweat, tears, and long hours to make sure the mission takes off on-time every time. “Everybody in our wing is an asset and plays a huge role in the mission for global reach,” Potts added. Finally, wing members played a critical role in assisting Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla. with hurricane recovery efforts. 
“Earning the award is truly a testament to the caliber of Airmen within our wing,” said Col. Craig McPike, 916th ARW commander. “It’s truly an honor to work with such an exceptional team of professionals who consistently keep our wing at the forefront of combat readiness.”  
Some Airmen are humbled to receive the award, saying the work they do is to ensure mission success and not for recognition. “It’s an incredible honor being recognized with this award,” said Master Sgt. Rob Foor, 916th MXS maintenance operations center superintendent. “While the award certainly spotlights our job performance, we don’t really strive for awards to prove we’re the best in the business. “Our iron is always in the air, our missions are consistently met in a timely manner, and our maintenance folks continue to put in long hours to make sure our wing is always mission-ready,” he added.
While many wing members feel the same way, earning the outstanding unit award also means Team Seymour Johnson won’t rest on its proverbial laurels. “As our wing commander said, ‘So we’re the best and we’ve earned this award. But we must continue to be better than we were today,’” said Foor.