O'Fallon Progress

126th Air Refueling Wing awarded Air Force Outstanding Unit Award

Members of the 126th Air Refueling Wing gathered on the National Guard parking ramp at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, May 7, 2017, for a wing photo. Pictured in the front three rows, left to right, front to back, are Col. Peter Nezamis, commander; Col. Jeffrey Jacobson, vice commander; Chief Master Sgt. Michael Douglas, command chief; Col. Tom Jackson, commander of the 126th Operations Group; Col. Joshua Hendrix, commander of the 126th Maintenance Group; Col. Johnathan Boehning, commander of the 126th Mission Support Group; and Lt. Col. Dennis Els, commander of the 126th Medical Group.
Members of the 126th Air Refueling Wing gathered on the National Guard parking ramp at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, May 7, 2017, for a wing photo. Pictured in the front three rows, left to right, front to back, are Col. Peter Nezamis, commander; Col. Jeffrey Jacobson, vice commander; Chief Master Sgt. Michael Douglas, command chief; Col. Tom Jackson, commander of the 126th Operations Group; Col. Joshua Hendrix, commander of the 126th Maintenance Group; Col. Johnathan Boehning, commander of the 126th Mission Support Group; and Lt. Col. Dennis Els, commander of the 126th Medical Group. Air National Guard

The Air Force Outstanding Unit Award has been awarded to an Illinois Air National Guard unit at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.

The 126th Air Refueling Wing received its eighth such citation, covering the period of December 2014 through December 2016

“The collective achievements of both individuals and as a wing set the place for a remarkable period in our wing’s history,” said Col. Peter Nezamis, wing commander. “In my recent memory, there was not a time where the stories and engagements across all spectrums of our mission were so impactful to the nation and our state.”

During this time, the wing’s Mission Capability Rating for the KC-135R Stratotanker weapons system was at 82 percent, surpassing all Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve flying wings. The wing deployed hundreds of personnel to worldwide locations in support of contingency and humanitarian operations.

The wing flew more than 2,800 global sorties encompassing 13,600 flying hours; executed more than 3,000 refueling events, offloading more than 31 million pounds of fuel to approximately 2,700 U.S and NATO aircraft. During this period, the wing performed its Nuclear Operational Exercise and was inspected by higher headquarters Air Mobility Command Inspector General during its Nuclear Operational Inspection, receiving a passing grade and demonstrating the wing is fully mission capable.

“This award further validates the spirit and the passion of the wing,” said Nezamis. “There is not a more fitting tribute to the officers and airmen of the wing as I move on to my new role at our state headquarters. It is exactly the reason why I love serving and leading this outstanding organization and I am confident the wing will continue to perform in exactly the same way, because that’s what’s in us. It’s in our heart, and it’s how we perform.”

Consisting of more than 1,000 Air National Guard and active duty Air Force personnel, the 126th is the only aerial refueling wing in the Illinois Air National Guard and routinely practices its mission of immediate, sustained, long-range air refueling of both nuclear and conventional aircraft with U.S. Armed Forces and NATO allies.

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