552nd ACW awarded third Meritorious Unit Award

  • Published
  • By Darren D. Heusel
  • Tinker Public Affairs
The 552nd Air Control Wing's outstanding service in Southwest Asia has earned "America's Wing" its third Air Force Meritorious Unit Award.

"Over that past year, our Airmen have excelled at exceptionally difficult tasks in direct support of combat operations," said Col. David M. Gaedecke, 552nd ACW commander. "They should be very proud of their accomplishments."

The wing is responsible to the 12th Air Force commander for operations, maintenance, logistics, training and combat support of the E-3 "Sentry" Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft and Control and Reporting Centers.

Providing combat-ready theater battle management forces at the direction of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the wing deploys, operates and supports forces worldwide, ensuring combat capability for peacetime and contingency operations.

According to the award citation, the 552nd ACW distinguished itself by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service to the United States in direct support of combat operations at Al Dhafra Air Base from June 1, 2014, to May 31, 2015.

The award states that during the rating period "the 552nd ACW deployed 1,600 Airmen delivering game-changing command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to allied forces during Operation Inherent Resolve."

The award goes on to state, "Their diligence and professionalism enabled 1,800 combat missions and the delivery of 2,500 munitions on enemy combatants, resulting in over 1,000 enemy killed in action. Additionally, the wing's combat presence bolstered support to the Afghanistan elections by delivering support to 52 troops-in-contact events and 60 close-air support missions. Their efforts ensured safe polls for 8 million Afghan civilians.

"Furthermore, the wing deployed to United States Southern Command and provided rapid-action surveillance to joint and interagency partners directly enabling the seizure of $33 million in narcotics..."

Over the years, Headquarters Air Combat Command has awarded the 552nd ACW with two other Meritorious Unit Awards -- from June 1, 2006, to May 31, 2007, and June 1, 2008, to May 31, 2009, according to Curtis Swift, wing historian.

Mr. Swift said the wing has also been awarded 25 Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards, four of them with "V" device for valor, dating from 1963 to 2014.

While the wing is the primary recipient of the award, several other units within the organization will share in the accomplishment to include the 552nd Operations Group; 552nd Operations Support Squadron; 552nd Training Squadron; 960th, 963rd, 964th, 965th and 966th Airborne Air Control Squadrons; 552nd Air Control Group; 552nd Air Control Network Squadron; 726th and 729th Air Control Squadrons; 752nd Operations Support Squadron; 552nd Maintenance Group; 552nd Maintenance Squadron and 552nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

"I would like our Airmen to know how much I appreciate all they do for our wing, our Air Force and our country," Colonel Gaedecke said. "I want to congratulate them again on being recognized with the Air Force Meritorious Unit Award."