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McConnell finalist for AF 2019 CINC Installation Excellence Award

22 ARW

Col. Josh Olson, 22nd Air Refueling Wing commander, gives the opening speech during a rally Jan. 17, 2019, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. The rally introduced the Commander-in-Chief Installation Excellence Award Team to members of Team McConnell. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexi Myrick)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Out of 183 United States Air Force installations across the globe, McConnell’s Total Force team has claimed a spot as a finalist for the Air Force’s 2019 Commander-in-Chief’s Installation Excellence Award.

This week, McConnell will be undergoing a site inspection in a head-to-head competition against Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The CINC Installation Excellence selection board will visit multiple units on base during the visit to determine the winner.

According to the CINC Installation Excellence Award fact sheet, Former President Ronald Reagan instituted the award in 1985. The presidential award recognizes the annual accomplishments of men and women who maintain and keep the base operating.

“I am confident that this search for excellence and innovations will yield many new and better ways of accomplishing our mission and at the same time honor those whose dedication has produced the best Defense organization in the world,” stated Reagan, while addressing Department of Defense personnel in 1985.

The award recognizes outstanding and innovative efforts of military institutions who have done the best with their resources to support the mission. Aspects of the base under assessment will include quality-of-life improvements, green initiatives and innovative programs that helped create and sustain superior operations and accomplishments.

“McConnell AFB is humbled to be one of the many beacons in the ‘Air Capitol of the World’. It’s an honor to have our installation, our Airmen and their families’ sacrifices, and incredible community support be nationally recognized,” said Col. Josh Olson, 22nd Air Refueling Wing commander.

In the past year, McConnell’s mission support staff has created new educational opportunities to support the Airmen by bringing Wichita State University back on base. The addition of WSU implemented certified projects to save the Air Force’s critical resources.

Quality-of-life improvements for Airmen were also implemented by the 22nd Medical Group, who improved service members’ health care by expanding their reach and impact to external sources, which provided more efficient care.

Also in 2018, the McConnell’s operations have led the Air Force’s strategic tanker arsenal by taking the deployments, missions and time to execute flawlessly at every chance. Because of the group’s efforts, the base was responsible for 40 percent of Air Mobility Command’s tanker sorties with only 12 percent of the assets.

“The entirety of Team McConnell has pushed themselves to receive this nomination,” said Col. Phil Heseltine, 931st ARW commander. “Becoming one of the top installations in the Air Force is a tremendous representation of the hard work and dedication of our Airmen and their families.”

As an installation with active duty, joint reserve and Air National Guard components, McConnell worked together to make it this far into the competition.

“The team is tapping into the potential of every Airman on the base,” said Col. Michael Venerdi, 184th Intelligence Wing commander. “The recognition speaks volumes about the Total Force effort that makes up Team McConnell.”

As Air Force finalist, McConnell has the potential to receive a crystal Installation Excellence trophy, an Installation Excellence flag and a letter from the President of the United States.