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MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — The 35th Civil Engineer Squadron will have another trophy to showcase.

The good news came Thursday: Misawa’s civil engineers were named best in the Air Force.

The squadron beat its counterparts at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., and Ramstein Air Base, Germany, for the Society of American Military Engineers Curtin Award. Misawa won in the large category, among units with 550 or more members.

“It recognizes their hard work,” a delighted Lt. Col. Dave Maharrey, 35th CES commander, said Friday morning. “The folks in the squadron … are truly some of the best I’ve ever worked with in my career. It was a team effort.”

A Curtin evaluation team visited Misawa and the other vying bases in January for a site review. The award notification Thursday did not indicate why the team chose Misawa, Maharrey said.

“The message just said it was a very keen and tight competition and that it was difficult to pick,” he said.

The Curtin award caps a remarkable year for Misawa’s civil engineers. In December, the squadron learned it had won about a dozen Pacific Air Forces Awards and several Air Force-level awards, including best Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit and snow-removal team.

A group from the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron will attend the Air Force civil engineer awards ceremony Feb. 23 at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington to accept the Curtin trophy.

The Curtin award is named after Maj. Gen. Robert H. Curtin, the Air Force director of Civil Engineering from 1963 to 1968.

The Curtin award last came to Misawa in 1993, to the 432nd Civil Engineer Squadron.

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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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