22nd Air Refueling Wing earns back-to-back Air Force Outstanding Unit Award

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Felicia Przydzial
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

The oak leaf clusters are falling at McConnell with the 22nd Air Refueling Wing being recognized for winning the Air and Space Outstanding Unit Award for the period Aug. 1, 2022, to July 31, 2023.

The wing earned the award-formally known as the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award-for the second consecutive year by required distinguishing themselves through exceptionally meritorious service or outstanding achievement.

During this period, the 22nd led the final KC-46 Employment Concept Exercise ultimately certifying the airframe as globally deployable. The wing amplified KC-46 capabilities, including night vision operations with a blackout landing, extending the longest flight duration to 42 hours and executed Agile Combat Employment concepts in the Pacific, enhancing mission flexibility and Air Force Global Reach.

During the awarded period, the wing also executed three airframe weather evacuations that secured $7.9 billion in military assets, a $9.5 million runway construction project and an airshow that brought in over 78,000 spectators.

Team McConnell debuted the KC-46 for Exercise Global Thunder during this time completing the fastest KC-46 alert launch to-date, creating response procedures and blueprinting the United States Strategic Command’s nuclear enterprise mission execution.

Additionally, the Wing advanced Air Mobility Command's KC-46 employment through Exercise Lethal Pride, which tested the ability to operate in a dispersed, contested, and degraded operations environment. Over 100 personnel were deployed in less than 24 hours, executing a 21 aircraft "elephant walk" and setting the base's record for number of aircraft launched.

Finally, the 22nd Communications Squadron served as AMC’s pilot unit to prepare cyber operations for potential real-world threats. Testing 13 interfaces and enabling a controlled environment with 5,000 live-fire attack scenarios resulted in advanced cyber-defense training for 19 teams Air Force-wide and the Department of Defense Chief Intelligence Officer Award for information technology excellence.

“I am immensely proud to lead a team that not only met, but surpassed the highest standards of excellence,” said Col. Cory Damon, 22nd Air Refueling Wing commander. “Winning this award for the second consecutive year is a testament to the team’s dedication, skill and unwavering commitment to the mission. I have full confidence that our team will keep propelling us toward the future and to even greater heights. We are one WINNING team, ready to provide air refueling anytime, anywhere.”