MILWAUKEE - Maj. Gen. Donald P. Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general, presented the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award to Col. Daniel Yenchesky, commander of the 128th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), during a formal ceremony Oct. 2 at Gen. Mitchell Airfield. This award marks the seventh time the 128th ARW has received the Outstanding Unit Award in recognition of distinguished meritorious service from Oct. 1, 2014 through Sept. 30, 2015.
"At this particular time in our history if you look back at our past, that kind of narrative would not have existed for the best active duty units,” Dunbar said. “To have this kind of narrative being read by a National Guard unit speaks volumes of our role in defending this country today.”
"Only a small percentage of units achieve this recognition of excellence,” Yenchesky said. “It is particularly significant to be awarded this decoration in a time of challenging operations tempo while working through transformation with today's limited resources.
"The teamwork and commitment to get the job done is what allows us to excel and to be the example," Yenchesky continued. "This recognition is not only a testament to the work done in 2015 but to the decades of hard work by the men and women of the 128th Air Refueling Wing. All the past members of our organization serve as a foundation to push us up to that level of excellence."
During the time period covered for the award, the 128th ARW accomplished its mission with a maximum degree of operational readiness, successfully flying the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft on 681 sorties with 2,800 mishap-free flying hours while participating in four major deployments. Supporting approximately 147 deployment tasks over 8,163 total days overseas, the 128th ARW provided 13.1 million pounds of fuel to aircraft for Operation Freedom Sentinel and Operation Inherent Resolve, helping meet mission capabilities in a high-operations tempo environment.
As a military partner to the community, the 128th ARW Honor Guard professionally executed 155 military funeral honors and 32 events requiring Honor Guard support, resulting in a savings of more than $79,000 to the Scott Air Force Base Honor Guard.
Wing members maintain community support through volunteer groups such as Habitat for Humanity, Stars and Stripes Honor Flights, Hunger Task Force, Project Concern, Coats for Kids, and the Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center, solidifying the crucial partnership between the 128th ARW and the local community in the greater Milwaukee area.
"There are people in the United States and around the world, whom you will never meet, that appreciate what you do and have benefited from your integrity, your talent, your blood, sweat and tears," Dunbar said. "I just want to salute you and tell you how proud I am. Congratulations to the 128th Air Refueling Wing on a job well done."
Previous Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards presented to the 128th ARW: June 5, 1967 to May 10, 1968; May 11, 1968 to Dec. 31, 1976; July 1, 1988 to June 30, 1990; Sept. 1, 1992 to Aug. 31, 1994; April 15, 1995 to April 14, 1997; and Aug. 1, 1997 to July 31, 1999.