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18th Air Force Airmen recognized as "outstanding"

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- 18th Air Force Airmen have earned the Air Force's largest Numbered Air Force the service's prestigious Outstanding Unit Award.

The AFOUA, awarded by the Secretary of the Air Force, recognizes units which have distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious service. Airmen assigned to the 18th Air Force from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2011 are authorized to wear the AFOUA ribbon or appropriate cluster. Civilians are authorized to wear the AFOUA lapel pin.

"This recognition is a testament to the dedication, commitment, and talent of the men and women of the 18th Air Force," said Lt. Gen. Mark F. Ramsay, the NAF's commander. "Wherever and whenever it comes, they answer the call to ensure the success of those in need."

Specifically cited in the AFOUA were the command's efforts to rush life-saving supplies to the citizens of Japan in the wake of March's devastating earthquake and tsunami; aerial refueling support to the No-Fly Zone over Libya, which contributed to the protection of Libyan civilians from regime forces; and a massive airdrop effort which provided 41 million pounds of supplies to forward bases throughout Afghanistan, reducing the number of troops put in harm's way on the nation's roads.

In addition, the citation noted the command "flawlessly executed" more than 15,000 sorties and delivered 1.9 million passengers, more than 626,000 short tons of cargo, and 400 million pounds of fuel in a "challenging operational environment ... during the command's highest documented operations tempo".

"I couldn't be prouder of the members of this command who work hard every day to deliver hope and safeguard our nation's security," said Ramsay. "They are the ones who realize the promise of global reach for our Nation despite incredibly challenging obstacles."