509th BW wins STRATCOM’s Omaha Trophy

Senior Airmen Eric Hinckley (left) and Christopher Smith, 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, prepare to launch a B-2 for a training sortie May 24. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matt Summers)

Senior Airmen Eric Hinckley (left) and Christopher Smith, 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, prepare to launch a B-2 for a training sortie May 24. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matt Summers)

WHITEMAN AFB, Mo. -- What many at Whiteman were thinking all along was recently confirmed by officials of U.S. Strategic Command.

The 509th Bomb Wing earned the command's highest honor, the Omaha Trophy, for having the best strategic aircraft operations for 2006.

The strategic aircraft operations trophy is one of four Omaha awards presented annually to assigned units demonstrating the highest standards of performance. Selection for the award is based on formal evaluations, meritorious achievement, safety and other factors such as community involvement and humanitarian actions.

"This trophy recognizes your excellence and dedication to this critically important strategic mission," said Brig. Gen. Greg Biscone, 509th Bomb Wing Commander. "Consider all our team accomplished during the past year. We deployed about a quarter of the wing, then performed magnificently in a record-setting efforts during our Joint Nuclear Surety Inspection and CORI. All through the year, as we faced many other inspections and challenges, the Wing delivered excellence."

Some of the wing's highlights in 2006 include leading the largest joint exercise U.S. Pacific Command has seen in more than 30 years and deploying a large percentage of the wing's Airmen in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

"There is a lot of tough competition to win the Omaha Trophy; in the end, it's presented to the best aircraft wing that provides forces to USSTRATCOM," Lt. Col. Bill Eldridge, 13th Bomb Squadron commander said. "We have proven over and over again that when our nation's leaders call us, we are ready for combat at anytime and anywhere."

The Omaha Trophy was presented to Strategic Air Command in 1971 on behalf of the citizens of Omaha, Neb., by the SAC Consultation Committee, with the request it be awarded annually to the most outstanding SAC wing.

In 1998, the Omaha Trophy was expanded to three categories: intercontinental ballistic missile, submarine ballistic missile and strategic aircraft operations. A fourth category, strategic space and information operations, was added in 2003.