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Wing wins Air Force unit award

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Three words nail why the 81st Training Wing was selected for the 2006 Air Force Outstanding Unit Award: exceptional meritorious service. 

The award was based on the wing's performance between July 1, 2005, and June 30, 2006. 

"This award is a tribute to the men and women of Keesler Air Force Base who not only have performed miraculously in the wake of this country's worst disaster, but who continue to selflessly answer our nation's call to defend our great country, its interests and ideals," said Brig. Gen. Paul Capasso, 81st TRW commander. 

"This award represents their strength, determination and resilience to rebuild the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the proud heritage of the long line of Airmen who have come before them," the general continued. 

The award is designated by the secretary of the Air Force to numbered units which have distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious service or outstanding achievement setting the unit above and apart form similar units.
A nomination and citation for the award were submitted by the wing highlighting, among other things, humanitarian aid efforts, medical operations during Hurricane Katrina and commitment to rebuilding after the storm. 

According to the nomination package, the members of the 81st TRW delivered 188,000 meals ready-to-eat and 20,000 gallons of bottled water to coast communities after Katrina. 

The wing also donated 55,000 volunteer hours in support of 652 humanitarian relief missions. During the storm, medical center personnel delivered a baby by flashlight, saved two lives and resuscitated six patients. 

The wing led a $950 million hurricane construction recovery effort despite reduced manning. 

The wing's efforts also included support apart from those linked to Katrina.
Numerous 81st TRW personnel deployed on various air expeditionary force rotations filling key positions and vital leadership roles in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom and Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. 

The citation reads, "Wing members provided outstanding support for the nation's global war on terrorism, including deployments to support wartime contingencies."
Members assigned to the wing during the dates covered by the recognition are authorized the award, said Eric Gibson, 81st Mission Support Squadron awards and decorations representative. 

For more information, call 377-2847.