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News > 16th ACCS named Airborne Battle Management Crew of the year
16th ACCS named Airborne Battle Management Crew of the year

Posted 9/9/2013   Updated 9/9/2013 Email story   Print story


by Jenny Gordon
Robins Public Affairs

9/9/2013 - ROBINS AIR FORCE GASE, Ga. -- The 461st Air Control Wing at Robins Air Force Base has won its second Meritorious Unit Award.

The award recognizes active duty, Reserve and Guard organizations for outstanding achievement or service in direct support of combat operations. The 461st ACW stood up in October 2011.

The Air Force Association also honored the wing's 16th Airborne Command and Control Squadron's Combat Crew Three with the Airborne Battle Management Crew of the Year Award.

The crew awards honor outstanding AWACS or Joint Stars aircrew's battle management contributions to the U.S. Air Force and air power.

Col. Henry Cyr, 461st ACW commander, said the organization's excellence begins with individual successes at each level, which were built upon to help earn the overall unit award.

"Not only do you have individual Airmen doing superb work, you find that when they come together as a team ... as a crew ... they're the best in the Air Force," he said.

"It was a great year, and I'm immensely proud of their success. It's impressive to be part of an organization that consistently excels," he added. "To stop for a moment and reflect on all of the pieces that come together to earn an award at this level is a wonderful opportunity."

The 461st ACW, working in partnership with the 116th Air Control Wing, form Team JSTARS.

The 461st ACW includes more than 1,300 active duty members and civilians who operate the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System.

The airframe is an airborne battle management, command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform whose primary mission is to provide surveillance and targeting in support of attack operations.

Conducting around-the-world operations in support of six combatant commands, Cyr said Team JSTARS is ready whenever it's needed.

"During the course of the year, there were up to 100,000 American and coalition forces in harm's way in Afghanistan - JSTARS was there every day," he said. "Every combatant commander had some type of problem out there in the world, and JSTARS was on watch, ready to help."

No stranger to awards and honors, Team JSTARS took home the 2012 Air Force Maintenance Effectiveness Award, Category I, Small Aircraft Maintenance, in support of six combat commanders across the globe. They were also recognized as one of the big "25 (2012) biggest breakthroughs" by C4ISR Journal.

JSTARS' Mission Maintenance Trainer, a simulation program which has experienced a 100 percent mission-capable rate while training and testing thousands of air crew members, was also named Air Combat Command's Simulation Training Program of the Year for 2012.

The team also earned Excellent ratings during ACC's phase II Operational Readiness Inspection.

Quoting the 9th Air Force commander, Cyr said, "If you need to find the bad guys, just call JSTARS."

Looking ahead amid fiscally-challenging times, Cyr said the team will continue to do all it can with its resources to support combatant commands as needed.

"It's been hard work the last few years with demands on our members," he said. "This year was busy, but next year will be busy as well.

"They always are."

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