Vigilantes win 10th Outstanding Unit Award
By Tech. Sgt. Michael Touchette, 120th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office
/ Published December 01, 2015
GREAT FALLS, Mont. -- Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III released the list of 53 winners of the 2014 Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Sept. 11, 2015, and the 120th Airlift Wing made the list.
"Once again, you've proven to be among the best of the best, even in the face of a challenging mission conversion," said Col. Lee Smith, 120th Airlift Wing Commander in an email to the unit. "Your dedication and commitment enabled the Montana Air National Guard to continue to fulfill its commitment to the missions and the defense of America."
The Air Force Outstanding Unit Award was established in 1954 as the first United States Air Force specific award. Previously, Air Force members received Army awards.
"With the amount of competition that's out there right now this lines up with the proud heritage of the Vigilantes," said Col. Patrick Hover, Operations Group Commander. "This entire wing always pulls together to execute the mission."
This is the 10th time the unit has been selected to receive the award, which is awarded by the secretary of the Air Force to numbered units that have distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious service or outstanding achievement that clearly sets the unit above and apart from similar units.
"In the middle of a three year conversion, we've got just about a year left, we have done more and been more places than any other C-130 unit in conversion that I'm aware of," said Hover. "We've been to Bulgaria, we've been to New Zealand, we've been to Alaska, and we've been to Japan. We are doing TACC (Tanker, Airlift, Control Center) missions, we are flying aeromedical evac, and we're still in conversion."
The 120th Airlift Wing was one of nine airlift wings to be selected for the award.
"You could give us washing machines and we'd figure out how to fly them, maintain them and put them all over the world and everyone would know here come the Vigilantes," said Hover.