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E-8C maintainers earn the 2012 Maintenance Effectiveness Award

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Members of the 116th and 461st Air Control wings were the recipients of the 2012 Air Force Maintenance Effectiveness Award, Category I, Small Aircraft Maintenance, based on support to six combatant commanders in five geographically separated areas of responsibility.

The 116th and 461st Aircraft Maintenance squadrons were vital to launching 766 local and 1,033 deployed sorties [during the award time frame], providing critical ground and maritime surveillance and command and control capability to COCOMS.

Maintainers juggled "robust home station Ready Aircrew Program requirements and higher headquarters inspections while simultaneously delivering unprecedented aircraft generation rates that met the appetite of multiple combatant commanders," said Lt. Col. Bobby Nash, 116th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander. "It's truly an honor for our team to be recognized with this award."

Striving to adapt aircraft capabilities to suit the 21st century battlefield, Team JSTARS (Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System) continually improved the fleet making four major aircraft modernizations while reducing labor hours by 22 percent and saving $3 million.

"The long work hours required to maintain our high operational tempo surpasses a commitment to efficient processes and technical proficiency, it requires a personal sacrifice," said Chief Master Sgt. Patrick Walsh, 116th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron superintendent. "Our families, and friends whom we deem family, are woven into the structure of Guard organization-we could not achieve excellence without them."

While deployed to support operations over Libya, Team JSTARS maintenance generated a perfect 141 of 141 tasked combat sorties; a 100 percent mission effectiveness rate recognized by Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt, director of the Air National Guard, as "a feat so impressive, it may never again be duplicated."

In Iraq, Team JSTARS successfully escorted the last ground convoy, leading a protective over-watch for the largest convoy operation since World War II and keeping more than 4,000 personnel safe.

"Simply put, it's all about the people, both aircraft maintenance squadrons working side by side." said Lt. Col. Karen Bice, commander of the 461st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

Back home, Guard and Active Duty maintainers were recognized by inspectors earning two team and 12 individual 'Superior Performer' awards during the Air Combat Command phase II Operational Readiness Inspection.

"The 116th and 461st Air Control wings have set the bar for the Total Air Force and is a shining example of how we can leverage the strengths of all components in this new strategic environment," said Brig. Gen. James C. Witham, deputy director, Air National Guard.