MILITARY & VETERANS AFFAIRS
(6 May, 2009)
177th Fighter Wing Medical Group Receives
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Photo caption: Airmen of the 177th Medical Group pose for a group photo outside the 177th Fighter Wing Medical Clinic after receiving an “Outstanding” rating during their March 2008 Health Services Inspection. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, 177FW/PA.
The National Guard Bureau has announced that the 177th Fighter Wing Medical Group, New Jersey Air National Guard, has been awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.
“This prestigious award is a testimony to the outstanding and dedicated service by the men and women of the 177th Fighter Wing Medical Group,” said Brig. Gen. Maria Falca-Dodson, Commander, New Jersey Air National Guard. “Your contributions have made the difference – both here and abroad. Congratulations and thank you for your commitment, dedication and resolve to our great state and nation.”
This is the second time the Medical Group has received the Award. The first was in 2003 as a subordinate unit with the Wing.
“The competition was extremely keen,” said Lt. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, Director, Air National Guard. “Each winner is commended for having been selected from an outstanding group of nominees.”
The Medical Group joins an elite group of 36 Air National Guard units nationwide, ranging the full spectrum of Air Force missions, in receiving the prestigious award. The AFOUA was created in 1954 and is awarded to any Air Force unit which performs exceptionally meritorious service, accomplishes specific acts of outstanding achievement, excels in combat operations against an armed enemy of the United States, or conducts with distinction military operations involving conflict with, or exposure to, a hostile action by any opposing foreign force.
"We are all extremely proud of the Medical Group's hard work and dedication and it's good to see them get the recognition they deserve," said Col. Robert C. Bolton, Commander, 177th Fighter Wing.
The Medical Group received the award for the period from March 30, 2006 to March 30, 2008. During that time, the 177th Medical Group provided extraordinary support for Operations' Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Jump Start, Arctic Care and Task Force Grizzly. Unit Airmen have supported the State Partnership Program between New Jersey and the Republic of Albania by training numerous Albanian doctors, nurses, and technicians in emergency medical technician certification courses.
In April 2006, the Group deployed to Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea in support of the Korea-United States Combined Forces exercise. The unit set up an Expeditionary Medical Support hospital in less than a week, inventoried more than 1,500 items in two days with 100 percent accuracy and provided training to the 8th Medical Group. As a result, the 177th Medical Group received numerous accolades from Pacific Air Force, the 8th Medical Group Commander, and Air National Guard Chief of Medical Plans and Readiness Division.
During Operation Arctic Care 2007, the Air National Guard Surgeon General specifically requested that the 177th Medical Group be the first Air National Guard unit to support the Operation, which is a joint operation involving medical personnel from all branches of the service. The services in turn integrate with local health organizations to provide medical care for native Alaskans. The Operation is centered in Kotzebue, with more than 150 doctors, nurses, medical specialists, and support members giving care to patients in Kotzebue and eleven outlying Inupiat Eskimo fishing villages.
The Medical Group was recognized as the top performing unit in the villages of Selawik and Noorvik. While deployed, the Medical Group Airmen reattached a young girl's finger tip, performed more than 2,000 optometric and dental examinations, and promoted a massive health program involving substance abuse, sex education and preventive medicine to more than 2,000 native Alaskans.
In addition to their robust support for national and international operations, the Group also received an “Outstanding” rating during their March 2008 Health Services Inspection – their second consecutive “Outstanding” rating. To add to this accomplishment, they put together an HSI Consultation Team to assist other Air Force units in preparing for these inspections, which are considered among the most difficult inspections in the Air Force. The 177th Medical Group Consultative Team visited four other units; three of which have been inspected and attained either “excellent” or better ratings on their inspections.
"These Airmen are true professionals who have taken an interest in helping out other units and ensuring that they succeed,” said Col. Bolton.
Locally, the 177th Medical Group has built relationships with non-military organizations including the Atlantic County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Task Force, Atlantic City Regional Medical Center, and Atlantic County Office of Emergency Management to prepare for future disaster relief efforts.
“The dedication and commitment of the members of these organizations enable the Air National Guard to fulfill its commitment to the missions of peacekeeping, humanitarian relief, domestic improvement, and most important of all – defense of America,” said Lt. Gen. Wyatt.