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177th Med Group receives top award
Photo and Story by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, NJDMAVA/PA

177th Medical Group

The National Guard Bureau announced that the 177th Fighter Wing Medical Group has been awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.

“This prestigious award is a testimony to the outstanding and dedicated service by the men and women of the 177th Fighter Wing Medical Group,” said Brig. Gen. Maria Falca-Dodson, Commander, New Jersey Air National Guard. “Your contributions have made the difference – both here and abroad. Congratulations and thank you for your commitment, dedication and resolve to our great state and nation.”

This is the second time the Medical Group has received the award. The first was in 2003 as a subordinate unit with the Wing. The award was created in 1954 and is presented to any Air Force unit which performs exceptionally meritorious service.

"We are all extremely proud of the Medical Group's hard work and dedication and it's good to see them get the recognition they deserve," said Col. Robert C. Bolton, Commander, 177th Fighter Wing.

“The competition was extremely keen,” said Lt. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, Director, Air National Guard. “Each winner is commended for having been selected from an outstanding group of nominees.”

The Medical Group joins an elite group of 36 Air National Guard units nationwide in receiving the prestigious award. The Medical Group received the award for the period from March 30, 2006 to March 30, 2008. During that time, the Group provided support for Operations’ Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Jump Start, Arctic Care and Task Force Grizzly. Unit Airmen have supported the State Partnership Program between New Jersey and the Republic of Albania by training numerous Albanian doctors, nurses, and technicians in emergency medical technician certification courses.

In April 2006, the Group deployed to Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea in support of the Korea-United States Combined Forces exercise. The unit set up an Expeditionary Medical Support hospital in less than a week and provided training to the 8th Medical Group. As a result, the 177th received numerous accolades from Pacific Air Force, the 8th Medical Group Commander and the Air National Guard Chief of Medical Plans and Readiness Division.

“The dedication and commitment of the members of these organizations enable the Air National Guard to fulfill its commitment to the missions of peacekeeping, humanitarian relief, domestic improvement, and most important of all – defense of America,” said Lt. Gen. Wyatt.

During Operation Arctic Care 2007, the Air National Guard Surgeon General specifically requested that the 177th Medical Group to be the first Air National Guard unit to support the Operation, which is a joint military exercise involving all branches of the service.

The Medical Group was recognized as the top performing unit in the villages of Selawik and Noorvik. While deployed, the Airmen reattached a young girl’s finger tip, performed more than 2,000 optometric and dental examinations, and promoted a massive health care program involving substance abuse, sex education and preventive medicine to more than 2,000 native Alaskans.

In addition to their support for national and international operations, the Group also received an “Outstanding” rating during their March 2008 Health Services Inspection– their second consecutive “Outstanding” rating. To add to this accomplishment, they put together an HSI Consultation Team to assist other Air Force units in preparing for these inspections, which are considered among the most difficult medical inspections in the Air Force. The 177th Team visited four other units; three of which have been inspected and attained either “excellent” or better ratings on their inspections.

"These Airmen are true professionals who have taken an interest in helping out other units and ensuring that they succeed,” said Col. Bolton.

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Volume 34 Number 4 Staff / Information
(c) 2009 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs