For the second year in a row, the 105th Airlift Wing has been awarded the U.S. Air Force’s Meritorious Unit Award for its accomplishments in combat support throughout 2021.
The Meritorious Unit Award recognizes Air and Space Force units for their exceptional conduct in the execution of combat support operations for 90 consecutive days or more.
The 105th Airlift Wing was recognized for its outstanding operation of the C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifter and performance of transportation missions around the world in support of the United States military.
“This award represents all the hard work and sacrifices made by our members and their families over the year,” said Brig. Gen. Gary R. Charlton II, Commander of the 105th Airlift Wing. “To be recognized two years in a row with such a prestigious award illustrates the exceptional character of the 105th Airlift Wing family.”
During 2021, the wing executed over 1,000 sortie missions, amassing 830 combat support hours and completing 336 Air Mobility Command missions.
Members of the 105th played an integral part in Operation Allies Refuge by processing and deploying three air crews and five stage managers within 36 hours. They ensured imperative objectives were met, such as expediting soldiers from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment into Kabul and airlifting a CH-47 Chinook helicopter along with 22 pilots to Afghanistan in support of OAR.
While evading hostile enemy fire, the 105th historically evacuated 2,524 men, women and children, including over 800 Afghan nationals. During one flight, a 105th loadmaster discovered an unconscious refugee not breathing and quickly administered CPR, saving the child’s life.
On their final mission, air crew members of the 105th solemnly airlifted 13 fallen service members from Kabul.
In 2021, the wing’s nine C-17’s airlifted a total of 12.5 million pounds of cargo and over 7,000 passengers in support of the Department of Defense around the world.
The 105th also responded to civil unrest in our nation’s capital, airlifting over 200,000 pounds of cargo and 207 service members to aid in Defense Support of Civil Authorities measures. Ninety-six Airmen from the 105th Base Defense Squadron provided security on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., helping to ensure the peaceful transition of power.
While conducting these missions and many more, the wing’s maintenance teams worked vigorously to maintain a 92.8 percent readiness rate, outperforming the 85 percent goal set by the Air National Guard.
Along with completing critical cargo missions, the 105th Airlift Wing proved itself to be vigilant, innovative and always ready to rise to the challenge in many other areas.
The 105th Communications Flight premier cybersecurity team mitigated over 19,000 vulnerabilities with an innovative patch management process, giving the wing one of the top three most secure networks in the ANG.
The wing’s medical personnel enterprisingly launched a National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians/Tactical Combat Casualty Care training site, where 105th medics were able to hone their skills in a realistic training environment. This inaugural program was lauded by the National Guard Bureau Joint Surgeon’s Office.
The wing also established security for five COVID-19 testing sites, protecting state medical teams and patients, as well as helping to facilitate viral testing for over 90,000 civilians.
Focused on building multi-capable Airmen, the 105th pioneered the first ever Wing Reaction Course, giving 130 non-Security Forces personnel an opportunity to experience simulated combat, complete with ground attacks, explosions and self-aid and buddy care scenarios to test their abilities under pressure.
Members of the wing are now entitled to wear an oak leaf cluster on their Meritorious Unit Award ribbon, indicating the second time receiving the award.