The 109th Airlift Wing from Stratton ANGB, N.Y., the sole operator of ski-equipped LC-130 transports in the US military, has won the prestigious National Guard Association of the United States’ Spaatz Trophy for being the overall outstanding flying unit in the Air National Guard in 2007. Lt. Gen. Craig McKinley, ANG director, presented Col. Anthony German, 109th AW commander, the trophy during the NGAUS award ceremony Sept. 22 in Baltimore, Md. “I am proud of our airmen for continuing to excel in the performance of their duties,” said German in a wing release Sept. 30. Throughout 2007, the wing deployed a total of 684 personnel who served more than 19,300 days to support missions in Southwest Asia, in the US, and in the Antarctic region where it provided airlift and airdrop support to US scientists on the barren continent. In 2007, the wing also stood up its first combat capability since the Vietnam War in order to fill a short-notice tasking to deploy two aircraft, four aircrews, and associated maintenance and support personnel to support Operation Enduring Freedom. (The trophy is named after retired Gen. Carl Spaatz, the first Chief of Staff, who died in 1974.)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.