5th CCG captures AF awards

  • Published
  • By Wayne Crenshaw
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Members of the 5th Combat Communications Group at Robins traveled to Washington last week to collect three big awards.

The group, affectionately known as the 5th Mob, learned two weeks ago that it won 2008 awards for best large communications unit in the Air Force, best small communications unit in the Air Force for its deployed unit, and best small postal facility.

The large unit award, called the Air Force Communications and Information Maj. Gen. Harold M. McClelland Award, went to the 5th CCG itself.

The small unit award went to 447th Expeditionary Communications Squadron, a group of about 20 members who are deployed in Iraq on a rotational basis. The award is officially called the Air Force Communications and Information Lt. Gen. Harold W. Grant Award.

The 5th CCG also won the postal award for the postal facility that the 447th ECS operates at Sather Air Base in Baghdad. That award is called the Air Force Communications and Information Outstanding Small Postal Facility.

Col. Jose Rivera, commander of the 5th CCG, and other leaders in the group went to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland last week to collect the awards at a ceremony. He noted that the 5th CCG has been at Robins since its creation in 1964, and credited the award to both the support from the community and the personnel in the unit.

"It's a reflection of the great Airmen that are in the Mob," he said. "They are focused on the mission. Everywhere they go they are doing some great things for America."

Col. Lisa Richter, deputy group commander of the 5th Mob, said the unit's enthusiasm had a lot to do with winning the award.

"I've got to say after 20 some-odd years of being in the Air Force, the one thing that sets the Mob apart is our attitude," she said. "It really gets to the motto of 'Let's go.' It is so true in terms of that it doesn't matter where the mission is, it doesn't matter where we are going, we are always saying 'Let's go. Let's go do it.' I think that attitude is really part of our culture."

Lt. Alan Fraser served with the 447th ECS in Baghdad for four months last year. He said the unit helped start a new passenger terminal at Baghdad International Airport, which is jointly used by civilians and military.

"It was my first deployment," he said. "It was exciting and it was eye opening."

He said 5th Mob members had a positive attitude in Iraq and enjoyed getting a chance to actually apply their training. Unlike most other units at Robins, the 5th Mob usually doesn't apply its skills in support of the war effort except when deployed. The rest of the time the unit is drilling and training.

First Lt. Mark Duncan served as postmaster of the Baghdad post office for four months last year. They operated both a regular post office and a hub at the airport, he said.

"It was great for us here at the 5th," he said. "When we deploy we actually get to do things that influence the fight."

The group is made up of four combat communications squadrons and one support squadron. It employs approximately 700 people, with most of those being active-duty military. Its nickname "The Mob" is a holdover from the group's original name, which was 5th Mobile Communications Group.

The group provides communications, air traffic control and weather systems support worldwide for U.S. military operations. The 5th Mob has also deployed to the Gulf Coast in support of Hurricane Katrina relief operations and it deployed to Pakistan in support of earthquake relief operations.

The group previously won the best large-unit Air Force award in 2006 and in 2003.

Colonel Richter said she believes this is the first time the 5th Mob has won three Air Force-wide best unit awards in the same year.