22nd Air Refueling Wing earns 2022 Air Force Outstanding Unit Award

  • Published
  • By Airman Gavin Hameed
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Ribbon racks are getting a little bit heavier at McConnell with the 22nd Air Refueling Wing recently being recognized for winning the Air Force Outstanding Unit for the period of Aug. 1, 2021, to July 31, 2022.

This award is presented to units that have distinguished themselves through exceptionally meritorious service or outstanding achievement.

During this period, the 22nd ARW generated more than 3,200 flights, supplying 50 million pounds of fuel to 6,500 aircraft. The Wing also accomplished the longest flight in Air Mobility Command history, at the time, lasting 24.2 hours

The Wing was named AMC’s "Best Nuclear Tanker Wing '21" after leading the first KC-46 nuclear exercise. The 22nd ARW refined aircraft alert steps and cut down air refueling response time by 25 percent. Additionally, McConnell powered the first-ever KC-46 dual defuel and drafted a lesson plan that was adopted Air Force-wide.

The 22nd ARW also supported the Department of Defense’s largest airlift in history, Operation Allied Refuge, executing 70 air refueling missions for the evacuation of 124,000 refugees from Kabul. Additionally, they helped increase stability in southeast Asia during Exercise Cobra Gold, delivering 615,000 pounds of fuel in support of 206 U.S. and Thai jumpers.

The 350th Air Refueling Squadron was awarded the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Trophy for being the top air refueling squadron in AMC. The wing was also awarded the Gen. Mark Welsh "One Air Force" award for the joint efforts of maintenance and quality assurance Airmen, who identified and resolved annual inspection discrepancies implementing new standards across three wings.

In addition to their operational achievements, the 22nd ARW also made contributions to international partnerships. They delivered the first-ever Japan Air Self-Defense Force KC-46, with AMC and Boeing experts working together for one week to ensure Japan’s strategic capabilities and interoperability. They also participated in U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s largest relief exercise, helping train and qualify 14 foreign military medics in air evacuations. The wing also proved the air refueling capabilities of F-35A Lightning II and F-22 Raptor aircraft and partnered with two European Union countries in support of NATO.

Moving from the sky to space, the Wing loaded NASA’s Super Guppy six times, transferring $80 million rockets in support of a moon landing in 2024, assisting in maintaining U.S space superiority.

The Wing fortified AMC’s largest innovation lab, developing an energy supply for their 3D printer that eliminated aircraft parts wait time and saved the wing $800,000 yearly.

“These are but a few of the many accomplishments our wing performed during the year,” said Col. Nate Vogel, 22nd ARW commander. “I couldn’t be prouder.” 

Vogel gave full credit to the hard work and dedication of the Airmen he leads to execute the air refueling mission.

"Winning this award is a tremendous honor and a reflection of the professionalism and commitment to excellence of our Airmen," said Vogel. "Our focus has always been on maintaining a high level of readiness and ensuring that we are always prepared to meet any mission that comes our way."