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JSTARS dominates as agile Airborne Battle Management Crew of the Year

An E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System sits on a taxiway at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, May 1, 2014, after reaching a milestone of 100,000 flying hours to include more than 88,000 hours in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility since 2001. The JSTARS mission is to provide ground commanders with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance air power to boost force protection, defensive operations, over-watch and combat search and rescue missions throughout the AOR.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jared Trimarchi)

An E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System sits on a taxiway at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, May 1, 2014, after reaching a milestone of 100,000 flying hours to include more than 88,000 hours in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility since 2001. The JSTARS mission is to provide ground commanders with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance air power to boost force protection, defensive operations, over-watch and combat search and rescue missions throughout the AOR. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jared Trimarchi)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- A squadron within the 116th Air Control Wing was chosen as the National Guard Bureau level Airborne Battle Management Crew of the Year for 2014 by the Air Force Association, announced in February through military channels.

Professionalism, superior knowledge, and agile technical skills in airborne Battle Management, Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance during missions in Iraq were the drivers behind the 128th Airborne Command and Control Squadron's Crew 8 award nomination.

"In today's operational environment, the skill of aircrew members coupled with flexibility is critical to mission success," said Col. John Verhage, 116th Operations Group commander.  "They had to rapidly adapt to an ever changing battlefield situation."

The crew's nomination focused on their accomplishments while flying in the Central Command area of operations.

"Their response to changes in the air tasking order ensured successful close air support and air interdiction missions, which directly contributed to bombs on target, on time," said Verhage.

The judging categories for the NGB level ABM crew award were: Outstanding Crew Accomplishments with Significant Results; Major Mission Accomplishments; and Contributions to Battle Management during tactical operations.

"The women and men of Crew 8 brought stability and calm confidence to the area of operations," said an evaluator senior director technician with the crew.

The 128th is among nine categories of battle management winners advancing to compete in the Air Force level competition. The national winners are formally recognized at the National Aerospace Award Ceremony scheduled later this year.

"These individuals epitomize the professionalism and dedication required for mission success," said Col. Brian Lehew, chief, Command and Control, ISR Division, NGB/A3Y.