349th wins Gen. Spaatz Trophy

349th ARS, AMC

The 349th Air Refueling Squadron is part of the 22d Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. It operates the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft conducting aerial refueling missions.

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- The 349th Air Refueling Squadron "Bandits" earned the 2017 Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Trophy for being the best air refueling squadron in the Air Force.

“"They are a shining example to the importance of combat air-refueling both in today’s fight and the future,” said Col. Josh Olson, 22nd Air Refueling Wing commander. “The Spaatz trophy is a notable reflection of the sacrifices tanker units and their families make each and every day.”

The criteria for winning the award focuses on seven major areas; the mission, aircrew upgrading and training, safety record, aircrew enhancement and retention, outstanding individual and crew accomplishments, military and civilian education, and base and community relations.

This award represents the hard work of the 349th ARS Airmen during the period of Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2017.

“I think that I can speak for the entire leadership team to say that we are extremely proud of the men and women of the 349th and all that they have accomplished in this last year,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jerod Norden, 349th Air Refueling Squadron superintendent.

The 349th ARS proved their worth by consistently leading the way by performing under a heavy operations tempo. The squadron performed 20 percent of all Air Mobility Command tanker missions with only four percent of the aircraft.

“Through many deployments exercises and temporary duty assignments they have tirelessly devoted themselves to delivering Tanker gas wherever needed,” said Norden.

The squadron has participated in six main operations and exercises this year including Juniper Micron, Talisman Saber, Mobility Guardian, Inherent Resolve, Resolute Support and Global Thunder.

“I believe that the priority of seeking and securing professional development in all aspects has resulted in our success,” said Norden. “From professional military education to career specific development, the squadron maintains a focus on being better individually as Airman even in spite of the crazy operations tempo that they support each and every day.”

This is the fifth time the squadron has earned the accomplishment, earning it in 2008, 2010, 2014, 2015 and now in 2017.

“The Bandits have always aimed to be the best at what they do through all circumstances and this has led to a culture of high standards and high morale,” said Norden.