Iowa Air Guard Wings awarded Meritorious Unit Award for Operation Allies Welcome

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot
  • Iowa Air National Guard

The National Guard Bureau recently announced that Iowa’s two Air Wings have received the Meritorious Unit Award for participation in Retrograde Operations from Afghanistan.

Award recipients include the 132nd Wing in Des Moines along with the 185th Air Refueling Wing in Sioux City, which also includes the 133rd Test Squadron in Fort Dodge.

VIDEO | 01:56 | Iowa Air Guard awarded Meritorious Unit Award for Operation Allies Welcome

The award specified actions during 2021, when the Iowa Air Guard received extremely short notice orders for support of Operation Allies Refuge and Operation Allies Welcome.

Iowa Guard members were stationed at Fort Dix in New Jersey where they were helping with logistics and sustainment in support of Afghan refugee resettlement efforts.

The announcement about the award was made in Sioux City as 185th ARW members attended a commander’s call event in the unit’s main hangar over their March training weekend.

Wing Commander, Colonel Sonya Morrison took the opportunity to congratulate unit members for their contributions and commitment to the mission of the Iowa National Guard. 

“Some people spend their lives looking for a job or a mission or a connection that they may never find, I truly believe we have that at our unit,” said Morrison.

According to the Air Force Personal Center, the Meritorious Unit Award is given to recognize organizations for outstanding heroism in combat as well as outstanding achievement or service in direct support of combat operations.

Additional accolades were presented at the March commander’s call when more than 100 members were recognized for their contributions to the successful completion of a pair of recent inspections.

One recent inspection tested the Sioux City Air Refueling Wing’s nuclear operational readiness, while a more recent inspection evaluated the unit’s overall effectiveness.

“Thank you for owning your areas and constantly working on ways to improve,” Morrison added, when talking to unit members about their performance during the recent inspections.

Before the event was over, the Wing’s selectees for Airmen of the Year were also honored. A number of recent Community College of the Air Force degree recipients were also presented with certificates at the ceremony.

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