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KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — The 18th Services Squadron celebrated a slew of honors Friday, including the overall award for best services in the Air Force for a record fourth time.

More than 100 people gathered at the Kadena Officers Club for what took on the appearance of a pep rally, complete with rattles, megaphones and a mascot wearing a fuzzy animal suit.

“You’re showing them again that you’re the best,” said 18th Wing Brig. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas, who announced each of the awards to the cheering crowd.

The LeMay trophy and the Eubank trophy for overall excellence were the crowning achievements for a squadron that carried out large-scale deployments in 2004 while continuing on Okinawa to run one of the Air Force’s largest service operations.

“We were really fast to respond to the tsunami relief effort,” said Capt. Keithen Washington, who won the company grade officer of the year award.

A large part of the squadron deployed to South Asia after the Dec. 26 tsunami and distributed relief supplies, packaged meals and other essentials, Washington said.

The squadron also earned best-in-Air Force awards in the following categories:

ProtocolInformation, Tickets and Tours programOfficers clubChild development centerHuman resources officeMarketing departmentTraining departmentIndividual awards for services went to airman of the year Sr. Airman Sara Higgins, who recently was assigned to a new base in California; NCO of the year Technical Sgt. Mike Ji, who is deployed; and civilian flight chief of the year George Jones.

Kadena is well-known in services squadrons throughout the Air Force for its quality, said commander Col. Guy Palumbo, who recently took over the squadron.

Most squadrons are lucky to have one or two star players in their operation, Palumbo said.

“I’ve got legends in the business working in almost every area,” he said.

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