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Exceptional year earns Okies unit honors

Wing Photo 2014

Wing Photo 2014

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 465th Air Refueling Squadron at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., prepare to land a KC-135R Stratotanker at RAF Mildenhall, England, July 15, 2017. In a long-standing total force partnership between Air Force Reserve Command and U.S. Air Forces in Europe, members of the 507th Air Refueling Wing are supporting Operation Atlantic Resolve and augmenting the 100th Air Refueling Wing here July 1-29, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 465th Air Refueling Squadron at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., prepare to land a KC-135R Stratotanker at RAF Mildenhall, England, July 15, 2017. In a long-standing total force partnership between Air Force Reserve Command and U.S. Air Forces in Europe, members of the 507th Air Refueling Wing are supporting Operation Atlantic Resolve and augmenting the 100th Air Refueling Wing here July 1-29, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 465th Air Refueling Squadron at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., deliver fuel to an F-16 Fighting Falcon from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, July 25, 2017. In a long-standing partnership between the Air Force Reserve Command and U.S. Air Forces in Europe, members of the 507th Air Refueling Wing are augmenting the 100th Air Refueling Wing July 1-29, 2017, to provide KC-135R air refueling support to the European theater of operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 465th Air Refueling Squadron at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., deliver fuel to an F-16 Fighting Falcon from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, July 25, 2017. In a long-standing partnership between the Air Force Reserve Command and U.S. Air Forces in Europe, members of the 507th Air Refueling Wing are augmenting the 100th Air Refueling Wing July 1-29, 2017, to provide KC-135R air refueling support to the European theater of operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

Senior Airman Micheal Thomas, 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group guardian angel, provides armed overwatch for contractors and air advisors performing maintenance on an Afghan Air Force MD-530 Light Attack Helicopter, April 16, 2017, at Kandahar Air Wing, Afghanistan. Thomas is deployed with other Citizen Airmen from the 507th Security Forces Squadron, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Katherine Spessa)

Senior Airman Micheal Thomas, 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group guardian angel, provides armed overwatch for contractors and air advisors performing maintenance on an Afghan Air Force MD-530 Light Attack Helicopter, April 16, 2017, at Kandahar Air Wing, Afghanistan. Thomas is deployed with other Citizen Airmen from the 507th Security Forces Squadron, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Katherine Spessa)

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Senior Airman Chad Belley, Staff Sgt. Justin Montgomery and Tech. Sgt. Michael Martin (left to right), heavy equipment operators assigned to the 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, removes the large debris from the cut spall area at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Sept. 8, 2017. The dump truck is used to haul all the debris from the area and help eliminate the accumulation of foreign object debris on the airfield. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Hehnly)

Senior Airman Nathalie Hamilton, a crew chief with the 507th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, opens her arms to hug her mother following a deployment Feb. 17, 2017, at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. More than 90 Reservists deployed in December 2016 in support of air operations at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, against the Islamic State group. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

Senior Airman Nathalie Hamilton, a crew chief with the 507th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, opens her arms to hug her mother following a deployment Feb. 17, 2017, at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. More than 90 Reservists deployed in December 2016 in support of air operations at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, against the Islamic State group. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

507th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Tech. Sgts. Michael Dunning, crew chief, and Eric Harmon, avionics technician, from Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., observe flight operations while preparing a KC-135R Stratotanker for flight at Eglin AFB, Fla., Nov. 28, 2017. 507th Air Refueling Wing Reserve Citizen Airmen from Tinker AFB flew the KC-135R to Eglin AFB for testing of the Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures modification recently installed on the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Samantha Mathison)

507th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Tech. Sgts. Michael Dunning, crew chief, and Eric Harmon, avionics technician, from Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., observe flight operations while preparing a KC-135R Stratotanker for flight at Eglin AFB, Fla., Nov. 28, 2017. 507th Air Refueling Wing Reserve Citizen Airmen from Tinker AFB flew the KC-135R to Eglin AFB for testing of the Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures modification recently installed on the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Samantha Mathison)

U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons

U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – The 507th Air Refueling Wing here was recently awarded the Air Force Meritorious Unit Award to recognize the organization for outstanding service to the United States in direct support of worldwide combat operations from Jan. 1 -- Dec. 31, 2017.

The MUA is awarded to Air Force active duty, Reserve and Guard units for outstanding achievement or service in direct support of combat operations for at least 90 continuous days during military operations against an armed enemy of the United States on or after Sept. 11, 2001.

The award citation states that the 507th ARW deployed 345 Reservists around the globe as part of operations Atlantic Resolve, Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel, which directly supported strikes against the Islamic State in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, the wing led air refueling operations in multiple global missions for Central, Pacific, European, Northern and Africa commands.

In order to earn the MUA, units must display superior performance of difficult tasks to set them apart and above other units with similar missions. The degree of achievement required is the same as would warrant the award of the Legion of Merit, and superior performance of normal missions alone does not justify award of the MUA.

The 507th ARW’s accomplishments during 2017 include showcasing an exceptional Air Force Inspection System by receiving the fewest findings command-wide by AFRC’s Unit Effectiveness Team and passing an Air Mobility Command Nuclear Operational Readiness Inspection with continuous aircrew and aircraft alert air refueling capability.

The 507th Operations Group Commander, Col. Kenneth Humphrey, said that passing the NORI was just one impressive accomplishment his Airmen achieved. Aircrew deployed from the 507th ARW received AMC’s Aircrew Excellence Award for recovering a KC-135R aircraft after two engines failed during a nighttime combat sortie.

“I am humbled by the amount of talent and diversity we have here,” said Humphrey. “We have multiple first responders, entrepreneurs and small business owners. We have teachers, university professors and airline pilots. Even an FBI agent and a Texas town mayor are part of our ranks. Yet all contribute and sacrifice their personal time and resources to serve as Reserve Citizen Airmen.”

During 2017, the 507th ARW’s air and maintenance crews achieved an impressive 2,666 flying hours, supported 685 sorties and provided over 17 million pounds of fuel to 2,043 receivers.

Another group in the 507th ARW also shined in the deployment arena; the 507th Mission Support Group.

507th MSG Commander, Col. Richard Ropac, lauded his team for providing unparalleled support to ongoing war efforts throughout the area of operations by putting boots on the ground in Syria, Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan. The group outprocessed and executed the mobilization of more than 300 personnel in support of contingency operations; prepped, inspected and loaded 53,000 pounds of cargo; and security forces provided transfer security of 120 Taliban detainees in theater.

"2017 was a phenomenal year for the mission support group,” Ropac said. “Ops tempo was high and the morale of the group showed through the commitment and success of personnel in all of our squadrons.”

Not only did the 507th MSG shine while supporting deployments abroad, they also had many successes on the home front, including an “almost flawless” rating from the AMC Inspector General, constructing a $3.4M Next-Generation 911 call center and establishing a wing honor guard to offset host base shortfalls.

Overall, every unit within the wing played a part in earning the MUA.

According to 507th Force Support Squadron spokesperson, Tech. Sgt. Michael Gentry, a member must have served in the 507th ARW for at least one day in 2017 to be eligible to receive the MUA ribbon in their records. However, Development and Training Flight members are not eligible, as they did not directly contribute to the mission. Please note, though, that if a D&TF member returned from training prior to Dec. 31, 2017, they are eligible for the award.

The records of eligible members who are currently serving in the wing will be automatically updated, Gentry said. Eligible members who have transferred to another unit must present the special order to their current military personnel section to update their records and retired members must contact the Total Force Service Center at 1-800-525-0102.

The following units are eligible for the MUA:

507th Air Refueling Wing
507th Operations Group
507th Operations Support Squadron
730th Air Mobility Training Squadron
465th Air Refueling Squadron
507th Maintenance Group
507th Maintenance Squadron
507th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
507th Mission Support Group
507th Civil Engineer Squadron
507th Logistics Readiness Squadron
507th Security Forces Squadron
72nd Aerial Port Squadron
507th Force Support Squadron and Cyber Operations
507th Medical Squadron

Members should contact their orderly room for all administrative personnel issues. All other inquiries can be directed to the MPS at 405-739-4047.