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RPA unit garners aviation award for excellence

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. N.B.
  • 432nd Wing, 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
The 91st Attack Squadron received Air Force Reserve Command's 2013 Grover Loening Trophy, a trophy presented annually to the all-around outstanding aviation program in the nation excluding combat rescue and special operations.

The trophy is the rarest and oldest of all aviation awards and 2013 marks the second year in a row that it has been awarded to a remotely piloted aircraft unit supporting the 432nd Wing and 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing.

"Our members excel each and every day alongside our 432nd Wing/432nd AEW partners and it's so gratifying to have their efforts recognized with this award," said Lt. Col. Joseph, 91st Attack Squadron commander. "It's a great honor to lead a squadron that earned this award as a team."

The award not only represents superb achievement in aeronautical skills, but more importantly represents the current benchmark for an overall outstanding aviation program in the nation.

"The 91st ATKS is one of only three Air Force Reserve squadrons that provides sustained 24/7, 365 days a year combat support," said Col. Brent, 926th Group deputy commander. "It's hard to compete with a squadron that is taking the fight to our nation's enemies every day."

The 91st ATKS was judged based on emphasis on academics, community involvement, aviation skills and skills advancement, a comprehensive safety program, and professionalism. All these areas, combined with a proactive enhancement of the future of aviation, were the key to the squadron being selected for the award.

During 2013, the unit successfully completed 7,240 sorties and flew more than 18,000 combat flight hours in support of overseas operations.

"Squadrons cannot exist in a vacuum; while this award only goes to one [squadron], it is the combined effects of our partnership with the 432nd AEW and 732nd Operation Group that made this achievement possible," said Collins.

The Grover Loening Trophy was first awarded in 1964 and is named after noted aviation pioneer and first civilian member of the National Air and Space Museum's Advisory Board, Dr. Grover Loening.

"Our total force integration partnership with the 432nd Wing is a model for the Air Force and Air Force Reserve," said Brent. "Our success is a subset of the great work that is done by the combined Air Force team supporting the 432nd AEW."

In October 2012, the 78th ATKS split to create the 91st ATKS, the second AFRC remotely piloted aircraft squadron located here. The 78th ATKS won the 2012 Grover Loening Trophy, the first RPA squadron in history to do so.

"This award showcases the excellence of our members and demonstrates the global impact RPA squadrons continue to have across the range of military operations--we couldn't be more proud," said Joseph.