TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
The 349th Air Mobility Wing brought home not one, not two, but three out of six excellence awards during the 2022 Fourth Air Force Annual Raincross Trophy Awards Dinner in Riverside, California, on March 1, 2023.
“Congratulations to all, winning these three distinguished awards given to the Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, Aeromedical Staging Squadron, and the 70th Squadron Aviation Resource Management and wing is an outstanding accomplishment” said 349 AMW commander Col. Lee Merkle.
The 349th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron was the first organization of its kind to win the prestigious Aircrew Excellence Award. The squadron’s mission was to coordinate aeromedical evacuations, liaison planning, and execute swift actions to advert loss of life. The 349 AES was recognized for its ready posture when it answered the call to deploy on special orders for Operation ALLIES WELCOME.
Six members mobilized as the initial ‘boots on the ground’ to lead the historic recovery effort for over 18,000 refugees. These 349 AES members coordinated medical planning and patient movements, including relocating and resettling 72,600 Afghans into allied installations and throughout the U.S.
The award citation demonstrated the 349th AES maintained its high standards while multiple teams were built to perform the mission. The squadron distinguished itself in the performance of outstanding service to the United States during this historic humanitarian effort. The 349 AES trained as joint capable assets to be prepared to operate in hostile environments.
The second trophy went to the 349th Aeromedical Staging Squadron for Medical Excellence Award in recognition of their advancement with planned operational deployments. The squadron led as the primary for Exercise ULTIMATE CADUCEUS, in which they enabled 17 missions and 343 patient movements in four days. More than 9,500 patients were transported, leading the total force team on 23 staging missions, racking up 90 aeromedical evacuation patients, and accumulating 800 flight hours throughout the deployment. The 349 ASTS also deployed to support over 500 missions and delivered $3 million in medical care equipment and supplies.
The 349 ASTS Airmen represented the wing, too, by the generation of 2,976 resiliency hours of training. Other specific accomplishments detailed in the overall award package were innovation readiness, leadership development, and community projects.
The 349 ASTS was officially recognized as a ‘star recruiting squadron’ by the Air Force Recruiting Service with 15 new member accessions, increasing critically staffed positions by 38%.
The Annual Innovation Award was given to the 349th Air Mobility Wing in recognition of the 70th Air Refueling Squadron, Squadron Aviation Resource Management. The SARM proactively capitalized on the increased telework during and after the Coronavirus lockdown, so they looked ahead and implemented a paperless process. The team committed to a complete digital overhaul of 18 aircrews, comprised of 104 personnel, and effectively managed a large conversion from hard copies to an electronic documentation and digital storage system.
The updated process flow that incorporated 1,000 electronic flight bags was issued to Total Force Integration operators who incorporated multitasking the EFBs, which resulted in a positive, measurable increase in return on investment.
The SARM continued to align the mission and vision and implemented a ready now and transformative view for future priorities.
“You have set the example for all mobility wings, continue to excel and demonstrate to our adversaries that we are Ready Now!” said Merkle.