Air Commandos earn outstanding unit award

  • Published
  • By 353rd Special Operations Group reports
The 353rd Special Operations Group recently earned the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for exceptionally meritorious service from Oct. 1, 2008 to Sept. 30, 2010.

Airmen may wear the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon if they were assigned to the 353rd SOG, 1st Special Operations Squadron, 17th Special Operations Squadron, 320th Special Tactics Squadron, 353rd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron or 353rd Special Operations Support Squadron for any portion of the award period.

"The men and women assigned to this outstanding organization have given their all performing the challenging mission we have here," said Col. Robert Toth, the 353rd SOG commander. "This recognition is one of many that Air Commandos of the Pacific have earned over the past two years and truly highlights the exceptional professionals I am privileged to serve with and lead."

Members of the 353rd SOG valiantly answered the call for special operations forces in the nation's largest theater while simultaneously supporting the Republic of Philippines security forces in their fight against terror, and conducting combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. While flying over 1,200 combat hours, moving over four million pounds of cargo and forty-eight hundred special operations forces, and saving a multitude of lives, the Group showcased dedication, courage and selfless sacrifice.

Following a devastating 7.6 magnitude earthquake near Padang in western Indonesia Sept. 30, 2009, the group was the first foreign military assistance force on the scene and superbly established an interim airlift coordination element which facilitated 150 sorties for United States, Australian, and Indonesian counterparts delivering over 140,000 of food and supplies while transporting over 1,100 relief personnel.

The Pacific Air Commandos also honed their skills through numerous operational training missions to ten countries within two areas of responsibilities, participating in the first Malaysian Joint Interagency Task Force Counter-Narcotics and Terrorism Exercise, and flying the first low-level missions since the Vietnam conflict, airdropping both United States and Cambodian Special Operations Forces.

This award marks the eleventh time the 353rd SOG has earned the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, four of which include the "V" device for valor.

Personnel officials will conduct mass updates to personnel records system to eligible members still assigned to the group and its subordinate units. Updates should be evident in the Virtual MPF within 60 days. Members no longer assigned to the 353rd SOG should contact their local personnel element in order to have the award added to their records.