Wing earns Distinguished Flying Unit ... again

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Emily Alley
  • 190th Public Affairs
The National Guard Bureau recently announced the 190th Air Refueling Wing as the recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Flying Unit Award. Every flying unit in the country is eligible to apply, but this is the third year out of the past five the 190th won.

"The award is based on the culmination of work the wing has done," said Maj. Brandi Staniec, who wrote the nomination packet.

Staniec compiled examples of work during the award period, January to December of 2012, from around the wing. For example, she found that, over the past two years, the total deployed days for the wing adds up to about 70 years.

"That deployment schedule was daunting," said Lt. Col. Chuck Remboldt, a pilot who was tasked to command a detachment during a deployment in the Pacific region in late 2012. He helped supervise the largest presence of bomber and tanker aircraft on Guam in 15 years.

In addition to work in the Pacific, as well as flights supporting operations in the Middle East, aircrews from the 190th accomplished daily flying missions in Kansas.

"I can't remember since I've been here, a time when we've had numerous and drastically different flying missions going on at the same time," said Remboldt, who has been a member of the unit for 29 years. "We just did it. To do that many things- without failure- that's significant."

While Remboldt and Staniec, members of the Operations Squadron, reflected on flying missions, they both recognized it took accomplishments from the entire wing to win the award.

"I think putting together an award like this opens your eyes to the work everyone did," said Stanic. "It's not just flying airplanes. It's so much more."

Staniec was impressed with the Medical Group, which scored a 96.6 percent on an inspection in 2012, and the Command Post, which scored an outstanding.

While Staniec emphasized the Distinguished Flying Unit Award represents the hard work of the 2,000 Airmen of the 190th ARW, she did choose to highlight the work of a few individuals in the packet.

Senior Airman Jeni Douglas, who was recognized as the National Guard's ophthalmic apprentice of the year in 2012, was named in the award. Douglas often managed the Wing's optometry office when Col. William Hefner, the wing optometrist, was unavailable. While Douglas describes herself as a timid Airman, she said the award was indicative of confidence she gained while in the Wing.

"I'm not nervous anymore. I jump in there and get things done," said Douglas. "I've seen a change in myself and, while the award is an honor, it's because I've had really good mentors."

If Douglas' award was a reflection of a successful culture within the Medical Group, the Distinguished Flying Unit Award recognized the Wing as a whole; after three wins, it's among the Air National Guard cultures recognized for success.