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Balad commander earns ACC's Moller Trophy

June 18, 2007 (by USAF Staff Reports) - The 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander was honored as Air Combat Command's top wing commander June 13.

Brig. Gen. Robin Rand, 332nd AEW commander, just finishes his second flying mission at Balad AB in F-16C block 25 #83-1147 from 111 FS. General Rand took command of the only Air Force wing in Iraq on July 5th, 2006. [USAF photo]

Brig. Gen. Robin Rand earned the Moller Trophy for demonstrating the most effective personal leadership to achieve and maintain a wing's combat effectiveness in 2006.

"General Rand exemplifies the very best of our wing commander leadership in ACC," said Lt. Gen. Gary North, commander of U.S. Central Command Air Forces. "I couldn't be prouder of General Rand for his leadership, his mentorship or his ability to form a winning team in joint combat operations."

In the first half of the award period, General Rand was commander of the 56th Fighter Wing and the installation commander of Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.

Under his leadership at Luke, 378 F-16 pilots and 275 crew chiefs graduated formal training courses and more than 475 Airmen deployed in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
He also led the busiest and best maintenance group in the Air Force, generating more than 31,000 sorties from 188 of the Air Force's oldest F-16s.

In July 2006, the general deployed here to serve as the 332nd commander, applying forward deployed airpower to the reconstruction of a free Iraq and the protection of the Iraqi people from terrorists, insurgents and other enemies of freedom.

During his year-long tour as commander of the only Air Force wing in Iraq, he led more than 26,000 Airmen at five geographically separated bases and more than 45 forward operating locations.

General Rand, a command pilot with more than 450 combat hours in the F-16, ensured combat airpower was employed in Iraq through the execution and support of more than 27,000 combat sorties and 92,000 combat hours.

He also oversaw the stand-up and bed down of an A-10 group at Al Asad Air Base, and the missions of three F-16 squadrons at Balad, as well as an expansion of C-130 airlift and HH-60 search and rescue operations.

All of this was accomplished while sustaining the world's largest Predator operation, busiest trauma center, the Department of Defense's busiest single-runway operation and largest in-lieu-of ground combat force.

Humbled by the award, General Rand said, "Truth be told, this award is a reflection of the thousands of dedicated Airmen assigned to the 322nd AEW and 56th FW who served so brilliantly during the 12-month period this award covered. I'm just the fortunate guy who was holding the guidon at the time.

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.

The 332nd AEW also draws its heritage from heroes of World War II. The Tuskegee Airman of 332nd Fighter Group were an all African-American unit which triumphed over racism at home and tyranny abroad. The Tuskegee Airmen painted the tails of the P-51 Mustangs red, so escorted bomber crews would know who was flying their escort, keeping them safe from German fighters.

"Just as the Red Tails did in World War II, General Rand, his command team and the entire 332nd has taken the fight to the enemy," said General North. General Rand's legacy of leadership at the 332nd is in keeping with the very best Red Tail traditions. I'm proud to say, the legend continues."

Courtesy of 332nd Air Expeditionary Public Affairs

Additional images:

Brig. Gen. Robin Rand, 332nd AEW, stands with 1st Lt. Kevin Sweeney, F-16 pilot, at the conclusion of the general's 104th and final combat mission in OIF on June 26th, 2007. In the background is F-16C block 30 #85-1458 from the 457th FS. [USAF photo by Lt. Col. Robert Mortensen]