The Nebraska Air National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters staff recently received the U.S. Air Force Organizational Excellence Award by the Secretary of the Air Force Personnel Council Awards and Decorations Branch, for the period of Oct. 1, 2013 to Sept. 30, 2015. This marks the third straight time that the Air Guard headquarters has received the prestigious award, which was officially presented to the organization on Feb. 11 during an early morning ceremony.
According to Brig. Gen. Keith Schell, Nebraska Air National Guard assistant adjutant general, the award is recognition of the quality of work that the members of the Nebraska Air National Guard headquarters staff are doing.
“Receiving the Air Force Organization Excellence Award is a significant accomplishment for our Airmen because it recognizes the dedication, the climate of inclusion and service of all members of our team,” Schell said. “We take great pride in answering the call of duty and are ready to serve wherever and whenever we are needed in Nebraska or anywhere else around the globe.”
Brig. Gen. Wendy Johnson, Nebraska National Guard Joint Staff assistant adjutant general, echoed those sentiments.
“Our Airmen, as part of the joint team, support and accomplish a variety of local, state, federal, emergency management and homeland security missions every day while staying positively engaged with the local community,” Johnson said. “This award was earned, not given, and each Airman played an integral role by putting our core values – ‘Integrity First,’ ‘Service before Self,’ and Excellence in All We Do’ – into action.”
The award specifically recognized the work Nebraska Airmen did conducting groundbreaking domestic preparedness training events that culminated in the first-ever full-scale Joint Force Headquarters Continuity of Operations exercise. That exercise saw nearly 300 personnel relocate to alternate operating sites enabling the continued performance of essential functions.
Additionally, JFHQ-assigned Airmen achieved successes in recruiting, retention, professional development programs and Civil Support Team agency assistance while increasing State Partnership Program engagements. JFHQ Airmen also provided support to numerous community outreach events including media support for domestic operations training events, the National Guard marathon team trials and the State Games of America.
Schell said he fully believes that the numerous contributions made by the Citizen Airmen leading to the recognition would not have been possible without the steadfast and unwavering support of their families and friends.
The Secretary of the Air Force authorized the AFOEA on Aug. 26, 1969, to recognize the achievements and accomplishments of U.S. Air Force organizations or activities. It is presented to Air Force internal organizations that are entities within larger organizations. They are unique, unnumbered organizations or activities that perform functions normally performed by numbered wings, groups or squadrons.
Airmen assigned to the element for at least one day during the qualifying period are authorized to wear the AFOEA ribbon.