353rd SOMXS Earns DoD Award

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Kristine Dreyer
  • 353rd Special Operations Group Public Affairs
The 353rd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron was presented the 2012 Secretary of Defense Field-Level Maintenance Award in the small category November 15 during the 2012 DoD Maintenance Symposium and Exhibition in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Maj. Ronald Thomas, 353rd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron commander, along with Chief Master Sgt. Frank Robertson and Master Sgt. Jeffrey Johnson both from the 353rd SOMXS accepted the award on the squadron's behalf.

"It's an honor to represent such a talented group of individuals," said Thomas. "I am extremely proud of our maintainers who work day in and day out to accomplish the mission no matter what obstacles they may face. Like I have said before, we are able to adapt and overcome on a moment's notice. What the squadron has accomplished in the last year demonstrates that. I am proud to lead such a strong and valuable group of people."

The 353rd SOMXS is a diverse unit whose mission responsibilities mirror a maintenance group. In addition to completing more than 9,000 maintenance actions, which led to 723 sorties generated and more than 3,000 flying hours, the 353rd SOMXS conducted six Joint Combined Exchange Training exercises and three Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed exercises in seven countries spanning the Pacific. While they continuously support Operations Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan and Philippines, the 353rd SOMXS also earned an overall "Excellent" rating on their Air Force Special Operations Command Operational Readiness Inspection.

In addition to scheduled operations throughout the year, the 353rd SOMXS is always ready to step up to plate when needed. While participating in a JCS-directed exercise, the 353rd Special Operations Group was called to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief after an earthquake and tsunami severely impacted Northern Japan. The 353rd SOMXS quickly shifted gears and generated 161 sorties that delivered 878,000 pounds of supplies to help support the one million people affected by the natural disaster.

"The men and women of the 353rd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron embody USAF core values and the group's focus...mission execution," said Col. Brad Sullivan, 353rd Special Operations Group commander. "Their actions continue to build the legacy of 'The Air Commandos of the Pacific."

A total of six field-level awards are presented in the categories of large, medium and small units. In the small category, 353 SOMXS received top honors along with the Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron Seven-Seven, Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.