JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. –
The Virginia Air National Guard’s 192nd Wing has earned the Air Force Meritorious Unit Award, according to an announcement made Nov. 28, 2018, by Col. Frank J. Lobash, 192nd Wing commander. This is the first time the wing as a whole has received this award, which was first authorized by the Secretary of the Air Force in March 2004. The 192nd Intelligence Squadron received the award in 2015.
The MUA is awarded to Air Force active duty, reserve, and guard units for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding achievement or service in direct support of combat operations.
“Our wing’s recognition as an Air Force Meritorious Unit is historic and relevant,” Lobash said. “Our Airmen, across multi domain missions, have positively impacted national defense and domestic operations at an unprecedented level while maintaining the balance of being citizen Airmen.”
The period of the award was June 1, 2017, through May 31, 2018. During that time, VaANG units supported Operation Inherent Resolve. The 149th Fighter Squadron flew 534 F-22 Raptor flights, 4,600 combat hours and dropped 263 bombs, executing a critical role in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The 192nd Intelligence Squadron supported OIR and other worldwide combat operations through analysis and dissemination of over 166,000 images collected by multiple platforms around the world. Each of the 12 squadrons and 1,250 Airmen of the 192nd is recognized for their vital contributions which make combat operations possible.
Through total force integration, the VaANG played an integral role in a deployment of the 27th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron which began in April 2017. After returning in late October 2017, the VaANG deployed again in April 2018 with the 94th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron.
During both deployments they protected coalition ground forces operating within Syria by flying Defensive Counter Air missions against enemy air-to-ground capable fighter aircraft as well as employing Offensive Counter Air missions deep into Syrian territory, facing both enemy fighters and surface-to-air missile systems. The 192nd F-22 maintainers ensured the aircraft were ready for combat flights each day of the deployment.
“This award unequivocally recognizes the awesome professionalism, readiness and lethality we bring to the total force every day,” said Lobash. “Our team has an innate ability to stay laser focused on what matters and prioritize tasks efficiently using the limited resources we are given. I have never been more excited and proud to be a part of a team that will continue to soar to new heights in the future.”
The MUA elements will include the citation, certificate, special order, and streamer which will be featured on the wing guidon flag.
“This award speaks volumes to the devotion and commitment that each of our Airmen make to our wing and our nation,” said Command Chief Master Sgt. Chris Amburn, 192nd Wing command chief. “I am constantly amazed at how each of you balance family, mission, employers and life while remaining the best in the world at what you do! It is a tremendous honor to serve with each of you. Our wing is amazing and our Airmen are certainly praiseworthy for being recognized for the Air Force Meritorious Unit Award.”
After achieving such recognition of high performance, Airmen may be looking for guidance on what to focus on next. When in doubt, refer to the commander’s priorities.
“If you’re asking your Airmen to do something and you can’t plug it into one of these four items, I need you to ask why we’re doing it. I need you to ask if it’s something we need to do, and if it’s not, stop doing it,” said Lobash. “We don’t have unlimited time, we don’t have unlimited resources and so this is the focus.”
The 192nd had to demonstrate outstanding devotion and superior performance of exceptionally difficult tasks to set it apart and above other units with similar missions. The degree of achievement required is the same as that which would warrant award of the Legion of Merit.