YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The 374th Airlift Wing is one of five Pacific Air Forces units to earn the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.

The wing was recognized for achievements from Oct. 1, 2000, to Sept. 30, 2002.

PACAF announced the award winners Jan. 7. The other PACAF units recognized are: 13th Air Force, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam; 36th Air Base Wing, Andersen; 354th Fighter Wing, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska; and 18th Wing, Kadena Air Base, Japan.

“We went the paces last year,” said Col. Kenneth Wavering, 374th Airlift Wing vice-commander.

The 374th had to support Aerospace Expeditionary Force rotations and Operation Enduring Freedom while maintaining “an aggressive exercise schedule and the day-to-day operations,” he said. “We had to sustain despite our high operations tempo.”

Since 1954, the Secretary of the Air Force has given the award to numbered units which have distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious service or outstanding achievement that sets those so honored above and apart from similar units.

Wavering said some of the 374th Airlift Wing’s more significant accomplishments, cited in its award packet, include:

• Support the wing provided to Operation Enduring Freedom while deployed to the Philippines.• An “excellent” rating in the Initial Response Readiness Inspection.• An outstanding safety record.• Bettering U.S. relations with host nation Japan.

Airmen assigned to the 374th Airlift Wing are authorized to wear the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon, said 2nd Lt. Thomas Wenz, a Yokota spokesman.

The ribbon has a narrow red stripe, flanked by a thin white stripe, a wide blue stripe and a thin white stripe, edged with a narrow red stripe.

“This is a quite a prestigious honor, though it doesn’t come with any special perks,” Wavering said. “The heart and soul of this wing are the airmen on the flight line, in the shops and in the offices who keep us moving beyond the obstacles toward getting the job done.”

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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