Wisconsin Air Guard squadron earns Outstanding Unit Award

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jon LaDue
  • Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs
A group of Wisconsin Airmen stand united in a unique mission - controlling air space from the ground. Now they stand united as one of the nation's top Air Force units.
Air Force officials recently awarded the prestigious Air Force Outstanding Unit Award to the Camp Douglas-based 128th Air Control Squadron, which employs more than 160 members of Wisconsin's Air National Guard.

"I've got outstanding officers, and outstanding NCOs and Airmen that are dedicated to meeting their own individual qualifications ... but they're also dedicated to upholding the traditions of this organization," said Lt. Col. Gerard Iverson, 128th ACS commander. "That's what so great about this award - it's not just one person, it's the entire organization."

The ACS was recognized for their service from Nov. 1, 2008 through Oct. 31, 2010. During this time of highlighted service, the ACS provided theater battle management command and control while deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Recognized for their proficiency during a Unit Compliance Inspection in June 2010, the ACS earned a 97 percent compliance rating from an Air Combat Command Inspector General team. The unit was also looked to for their expertise when they were called upon to provide pre-deployment training to another Air Control Squadron - certifying 40 Airmen prior to their deployments overseas.

"This is a tremendous honor," said Brig. Gen. Don Dunbar, adjutant general of Wisconsin, "that recognizes the significant contributions of the 128th ACS to the joint war fighter. This is a special group of Airmen and I am very proud of their performance."

The 128th does not rest on its laurels, however - the squadron remains busy supporting Presidential events across the country and participating in large-scale exercises such as the Patriot Exercise, Northern Lightening and NATO's international exercise, Ramstein Rover.

"We don't let grass grow under our feet. We've continued to reach out and seek out events that challenge us," Iverson said. "You have to be proactive in getting out there. By doing so, it gives everyone experience to further hone those skills that we train for."

In the award's announcement letter, Lt. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt, director of the Air National Guard, highlighted the caliber of the award and its significance to the nation.

"The competition was extremely keen and each winner is commended for having been selected from and outstanding group of nominees," Wyatt said. "The dedication and commitment of the members of these organizations enable the Air National Guard to fulfill its commitment to the mission of peacekeeping, humanitarian relief, domestic improvement and most important of all - defense of America."

This is the fourth AFOUA award the 128th has earned, but the first since the 1980s. The 128th ACS is a mobile radar/communications unit that supports air operations from the ground. The unit deployed immediately following Sept. 11, 2001 and has since deployed twice to Afghanistan and once to another base in Southwest Asia. Meanwhile they continue to support Homeland Defense as part of Operation Noble Eagle.

"We bring a seasoned, well-rounded, experienced and highly motivated control and reporting center to the combatant commander," Iverson said, "and that is a testament to each and every individual in this organization."