By Staff Sgt. Michael Touchette, 120th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 01, 2014
GREAT FALLS, Mont. -- Nearly 50 Airmen from the 120th Airlift Wing gathered in the civil engineering classroom during an awards ceremony to recognize the accomplishments of Senior Master Sgt. Ruth Mortag, a Montana Guardsman recently deployed to Afghanistan.
Mortag was awarded the Air Force Commendation medal, the Senior Enlisted Central Command Joint Theater Support Contracting Award, the Non-Article 5 NATO Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal by Col. Thomas H. Mora, 120th Mission Support Group commander.
Mortag deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan from May 12 to December 1, 2013, where she served as the services flight chief in the Regional Contracting Center - South, Central Command Joint Theater Support Contracting Command.
Mortag developed a training program for 40 contracting professionals in support of procurement management review and C-JTSCC training directive, served in relation to the international security assistance force operations and led 11 personnel in the administration of 163 contracts exceeding $52 million, acquiring base services impacting a combined 65,000 United States, coalition and Afghan troops across 44 forward operating bases and compact outposts.
"I learned so much from being in that atmosphere and being the flight chief," said Mortag. "I was really honored that they selected me. I was the only enlisted person in a leadership role."
Through her efforts, essential life support services to maintain sanitary living conditions were provided to keep the war fighters fit for duty.
By reconciling deficiencies in delivery orders Mortag was able to return $3 million in excess funds to the government.
"When Major Hanson told me he was going to put me in for a DSM I told him I was just doing my job and he said no you're doing a good job and that meant the world to me," said Mortag.
In addition to her awards, Mortag was presented with a framed American flag, a letter and a coin from the Montana Military Appreciation Project in recognition of her service and sacrifice in the cause of freedom.
"I was told the worst thing to do is to get on that plane and fly away," Mortag said. "But the hardest thing to do was getting on that plane at Kandahar because you make great friendships."
Mortag's husband, Senior Master Sgt. Jeff Mortag; their three daughters; her parents, Earl and Diana Tresch; and her father and mother in-law, Dan and Nancy Mortag were present for the ceremony and received tokens of appreciation for their support.
"We thought this would be a great opportunity to capitalize on family and friends being able to come together in a little bit more quaint awards ceremony which I really like because you get to get the family members up here to be a part of it," said Mora.