February 17, 2006 (by Franklin Fisher) - The 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base has won a major Air Force-level award for a series of "outstanding" accomplishments. The wing has received the Air Force's 2005 Outstanding Unit Award for its performance from October 2003 through September 2005.
USAF F-16C block 40, #89055, of the Wolf Pack, performing a high speed fly-by [Photo by SSgt. Cecilio M. Ricardo Jr.]
The 'Wolf Pack' is one of six units within Pacific Air Forces to win one of the 2005 awards.
The other recipients are the 374th Air Wing at Yokota Air Base, Japan; 36th Air Base Wing at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam; and three units based in Alaska: 11th Air Force and the 3rd Wing, both at Elmendorf Air Force Base, and the 354th Fighter Wing at Eielson Air Force Base.
"We're just extremely happy and proud and pleased that the Air Force recognized... the people, the men and women of the Wolf Pack," said Air Force Col. Chris Chambliss, the Wolf Pack's vice wing commander. "It is absolutely a unique place and I would say the esprit de corps of this wing is probably beyond that of any wing I've ever been assigned to."
Numerous achievements led to the Wolf Pack's award, wing officials said.
One was the overall "excellent" rating it received during the 2005 PACAF
Operational Readiness Inspection, the best rating the Wolf Pack received in 10 years.
Another was the support of deployments to Kunsan of F-117A Nighthawk fighters and personnel from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. The Wolf Pack flies the F-16 fighter.
"The F-117 is very different from the F-16, obviously," said Chambliss. "So the fact that we brought them here and they did exceptionally well in terms of flying sorties... I think was a big testament" to the Wolf Pack's support effort, Chambliss said.
Other factors that helped the Wolf Pack win the award were:
Quality-of-life improvements made last year, including completion of a new fitness center, two new enlisted-airman dormitories and expansion of the base exchange.
Being the first unit in PACAF to install and begin using the Sniper XR targeting pod.
Four awards the wing received: in 2005, best Air Force Logistics Readiness Squadron; in 2004, best Air Force Community Center; in 2003, best Air Force Collocated Club and best Air Force Civil Engineer Squadron Readiness Flight.
Wolf Pack airmen assigned to the wing from Oct. 1, 2003, to Sept. 30, 2005, will be entitled to wear the Air Force's Outstanding Unit Award ribbon.
The Air Force-level AFOUA was established in 1954 and is awarded by the Secretary of the Air Force to numbered units that have distinguished themselves through exceptionally meritorious service or outstanding achievement that clearly sets the unit above and apart from similar units.
The award will be presented to the Wolf Pack in a ceremony to be scheduled for later this year.
The wing's latest award comes while it is a finalist for a top-level Defense Department 2006 installation excellence award. Also in the running for that award, called the Commander-in-Chief's Installation Excellence Award, are Ramstein Air Base in Germany and Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.