PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Fifty maintainers from the 920th Maintenance Group have won the 2016 Maintenance Effectiveness Award at the major command level.
The award is the highest level of squadron recognition in the Air Force maintenance career field.
Air Combat Command awarded the 2016 MEA to the 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, a unit to which members of the 920th MXG were deployed from September 2016 to February 2017.
Maj. David Klein, maintenance operations officer with the 920th MXG, said the maintainers supported the only armed personnel recovery platform in Afghanistan pulling alert duty 24/7 in support of combat operations. They deployed with three HH-60 Pave Hawk rescue helicopters along with pilots and special missions aviators from the 920th Rescue Wing
The reservists accomplished 2,158 maintenance actions; 230 combat sorties; 3,000 hours of uninterrupted alert for personnel recovery; and 308 combat flight hours during their time at Bagram, said Senior Master Sgt. Donald Corkum, aircraft maintenance unit superintendent with the 720th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. These statistics include the month of January 2017.
Senior Master Sgt. David Carden, supervisor for the HH-60 Pave Hawk Inspection Dock, 920th Maintenance Squadron, said the key to their success was their enthusiasm to contribute. He said the leadership at Bagram praised them for integrating well with their active duty counterparts and for having a positive attitude.
“Basically, active duty passed the baton to us and we didn’t skip a beat,” said Carden.
At the 455th EAMXS, Klein served as the officer-in-charge of the helicopter maintenance unit; Corkum as helicopter maintenance superintendent; and Carden, along with Senior Master Sgt. Gary Watkins, as production superintendent.
Corkum said, “The big thing is we’re all citizen airmen. I don’t do this every day. The majority of us don’t, or we’re in a different capacity.”
The 920th RQW is currently covering a 12-month rotation to Bagram Airfield to provide combat search-and-rescue to military and civilian forces in Afghanistan. This summer, the second wave of reservists from the 920th MXG will return to Patrick AFB, Florida, to be replaced by maintainers from the wing’s geographically separated unit, the 943rd Maintenance Squadron, Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona.