July 4, 2008 (by 1st Lt. Lisa Spilinek) - Maj. Gen. Burt Field was awarded the Col. Joseph A. Moller Trophy naming him the best wing commander in Air Combat Command for 2008, the day before he relinquished command of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing.
Maj. Gen. Burt Field was awarded the Col. Joseph A. Moller Trophy naming him the best wing commander in ACC for 2008 on July 3rd, 2008. General Field commanded the 332nd AEW from July 4th, 2007 to July 4th, 2008. [USAF photo]
The award announcement was made by Lt. Gen. Gary North, 9th Air Force and U.S. Air Forces Central commander, during an evening ceremony July 3 in which General North promoted General Field to his current rank.
The following morning, the command of the 332 AEW was passed from General Field to Brig. Gen. Brian Bishop.
During his year-long tour at Balad, General Field commanded the Air Force's most diverse and largest combat wing and led more than 26,000 Airmen to produce lethal combat airpower from five major forward operating bases and 63 austere locations.
"We have all flourished because of Burt Field. We have flourished not only because of his professionalism, not only because of his dignity, not only because of his discipline, not only because of his vision; we have flourished together, most importantly in my opinion, because of his passion as an Airman," General North said. "It is this passion to do what is right, to do it when it is right, and to do it in the right way that has enabled Airmen from all over the world to work side-by-side in a joint environment to bring out the very best in each of us to accomplish the mission."
Under General Field's command, Airmen of the 332 AEW increased F-16 Fighting Falcon operations by 25 percent and unmanned aerial vehicle Predator operations by 160 percent, according to the general's Bronze Star Medal citation.
The wing, which operates the busiest single runway in the Department of Defense at Joint Base Balad, also flew nearly 31,000 sorties and employed more than 1,000 weapons, destroying key targets and neutralizing more than 1,500 insurgents. Additionally, more than 1 million passengers and 950,000 tons of cargo were moved throughout Iraq by the 332 AEW aircraft.
While remarking on his promotion and being named ACC
's top wing commander, General Field recognized the Airmen of the 332 AEW from Air Expeditionary Force rotations 7/8, 9/10, 1/2, and the currently deployed 3/4 rotation, for their hard work over past year.
"All I want to do is the right thing for the Airmen and I will tell you at the end of the day it's Airmen just like you who are out there doing great work. Whether officer or enlisted, you're out there leading Airmen and I get credit for your effort; I get the credit for the Airmen who are doing the hard, dirty work of getting the mission accomplished," General Field said.
"Being a wing commander is not a single-person job. It requires the support of a lot of people and requires the success of a lot of efforts. So thank you -- thank you all for the efforts that you put forth everyday. Thank you for leading our Airmen so well. Thank you for your dedication," General Field said.
The 332 AEW draws its heritage from the 332nd Fighter Group, which was the unit of the famed Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. The Tuskegee Airmen, were the first African-Americans to be involved in military flying operations and included pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors, and all other personnel who helped keep the "Red Tails" as their painted airplanes were known, in the air.
"I salute each Tuskegee Airman. You are part of an enormous effort that requires us to give to our fullest and perform to our finest. You are making a positive difference here in Iraq. You are fulfilling the promise of the first Tuskegee Airmen and, in you, the legend does continue.
The Moller Trophy was originally established by Strategic Air Command in 1982 as the 390th Bombardment Group Memorial Trophy and was presented annually through 1992. ACC established the award after SAC was deactivated and renamed the trophy in honor of the late Col. Joseph A. Moller, former commander of the 390th Bombardment Group during World War II.