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105th Airlift Wing recognized with Meritorious Unit Award

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Sara Pastorello
  • 105th Airlift Wing

STEWART AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, NEWBURGH, N.Y. – Over 1,300 men and women of the New York Air National Guard’s 105th Airlift Wing were awarded the Air Force’s Meritorious Unit Award for their accomplishments during 2020.

The award recognizes Air Force units for accomplishments in combat as well as outstanding achievement or service in direct support of combat operations.

According to Air Force regulations, units that qualify for this award display “outstanding devotion and superior performance of exceptionally difficult tasks that set it apart and above other units with similar missions,” according to Air Force regulations.

The 105th Airlift Wing, which flies transportation missions worldwide in support of the United States military, was recognized for performance and accomplishment in several areas between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.

“This Meritorious Unit Award is a testament to the efforts of every single member of the 105th Airlift Wing,” said Brig. Gen. Denise Donnell, the commander of the 105th Airlift Wing, in a message to the wing on November 24.

“This is our first-ever Meritorious Unit Award and I couldn’t be any prouder of the tremendous achievement of our Citizen-Airmen who are always ready and always there,” she added.

Based at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, the 105th Airlift Wing operates the C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifter.

In 2020, the wing mobilized 208 Airmen to New York State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic while also providing exceptional support of combat units in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Created in 2004, the Meritorious Unit Award recognizes involvement in combat operations or support of combat operations since the attacks of September 11, 2001.

During 2020, the wing’s Airmen supported eight military operations and conducted 73 combat and combat support missions. The wing’s Airmen moved 9.2 million pounds of cargo in and out of combat zones.

At the same time, the wing’s nine C-17’s airlifted 10.1 million pounds of cargo and over 5,000 passengers during 92 strategic airlift missions in support of the Department of Defense worldwide.

The wing also moved almost 300 personnel and 429,000 pounds of cargo to support COVID-19 related missions in support of U.S. troops operating overseas.

While conducting these missions and many more, the wing’s maintenance teams kept aircraft flying reaching an 89.5 percent readiness rate; this was the highest among the Total Air Force’s 15 C-17 wings.

The 105th Airlift Wing mobilized individual Airmen for missions overseas and at home, along with moving critical personnel and cargo.

Aircraft maintainers deployed into combat zones helped keep aircraft flying, while another team from the wing’s air terminal detachment supported Special Operations Command.

Wing intelligence personnel supported critical missions overseas from Stewart Air National Guard Base and specially trained wing security forces personnel deployed to beef up security in remote operating locations overseas.

Wing Airmen were also on active duty at home during the darkest moments of the pandemic, working at the COVID-19 field hospital at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan and COVID-19 testing sites and helping to feed hundreds of thousands of New York City residents who needed food support.

The wing also conducted a training exchange with the South African Military as part of the National Guard State Partnership Program. It continued to conduct challenging training programs at the base.

Members of the wing are now entitled to wear a red, white, and blue ribbon denoting the award on their service dress uniforms.