Brig. Gen. John C. Flournoy Jr., Commander, Headquarters 4th Air Force, March Air Reserve Base, Calif., surprised senior leaders at the 349th Air Mobility Wing, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., during a video teleconference Nov. 6, 2013, by presenting them with the Raincross Trophy for being the best wing in the numbered Air Force (NAF) for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 combined.
The commanders and support staff gathered in the 349 AMW conference room for a pre-UTA (Unit Training Assembly) meeting, expecting to hear from Flournoy that they had some security issues to work on.
He began by saying, “I hate to do this short notice but I wanted to talk to you about the PII (security) violations that have been going on throughout the Air Force.”
Flournoy went on about how important this was, and that he had to hire two members from an outside agency to come in and help him. The two civilians sitting next to him, unknown to the Travis community, were actually Cindy Roth, President of the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, the organization that started the Raincross Trophy some 15 years ago, and Roger Rupp, Military Affairs Committee Chair for the GRCC and retired Air Force colonel.
“All the commanders are taking notes. I can see them all, and I know them because I was the wing commander there nine months ago,” Flournoy said. “They were all concerned.”
That’s when Flournoy asked the Travis members to stand by. He got up from his chair and returned with a replica of the Raincross Trophy that he sat down in front of him.
“The real reason you’re sitting in front of me right now is for me to present this Raincross Trophy and congratulate you on being the best wing in Fourth Air Force,” Flournoy said. “They went nuts! It was crazy, really funny.”
The 349th AMW members put a lot of work into their submission package, the general said. Although he was their wing commander during some of the award period, he assured the wing that the board met to make this decision before he ever stepped foot at the NAF headquarters.
Among the wing’s many accomplishments during the past two fiscal years was a wartime operations tempo that resulted in more than 15,000 flying hours on more than 3,100 sorties that delivered nearly 34,000 tons of vital cargo, carried 36,300 passengers and provided more than 15 million pounds of offloaded fuel to more than 1,200 coalition receivers.
The 349th AMW deployed more than 450 members in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM, NEW DAWN, CREEK SENTRY, PHOENIX BANNER, ELLIPSE CHARLIE, TROJAN FOOTPRINT, TURBO ACTIVATION and VALIANT SHIELD. Its members also participated in major, global exercises including ARENT SENTRY, KEEN EDGE, KEY RESOLVE, TERMINAL FURY and ULCHI FREEDOM GUARDIAN.
The wing was selected as one of five pilot bases for the new Development and Training Flight, and as such, was named the number one benchmark program and large base in the command for 2012, surpassing 33 other bases and maintaining the lowest Basic Military Training attrition rate, 4.9 percent, and saving more than five million dollars in recruiting and replacement costs in the two-year period.
The Travis wing orchestrated several events, modeled after Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st century, resulting in a 65 percent reduction in computer trouble ticket backlogs, a nearly 11 percent rise in Individual Medical Readiness, and a process improvement that netted a 53 percent drop in member waiting more than 12 months for school training dates.
In addition, the wing established and sustained a powerful and intricate community relations program, increasing awareness and understanding of the Air Force Reserve throughout Yolo and Solano Counties, the San Francisco Bay area and the Sacramento Valley as participants in more than 100 events.
“This award recognizes the great work being done here at the 349th AMW by our unbelievable Airmen!
I’m very proud of our support to the Air Force mission,” said Col. Matthew J. Burger, Commander, 349th AMW. The Raincross award acknowledges the quality and the contributions of our wing.”
Flournoy invited the sponsors to the presentation because there was no Raincross event last year or this year.
“That’s very important that we continue those highs. They were very happy to come in out of their busy days and sit there with me. They got a kick out of it,” Flournoy said.
“It takes tremendous commitment, outstanding leadership and personal discernment and judgement displayed by all members of the wing to outshine the competitors and be awarded the Raincross Trophy,” said Rupp. “You are the best of the best. Congratulations!”
A replica of the very, large Raincross Trophy, which remains at the numbered Air Force headquarters, will be presented to the 349th AMW at the March 2014 Unit Training Assembly by Flournoy and Chief Master Sgt. Brian C. Wong, 4th Air Force Command Chief Master Sergeant.