by Senior Airman Charles Rivezzo
60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
7/30/2015 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The
9th Air Refueling Squadron was recognized July 18 as the "Top Air
Refueling Section in the Air Force" after being presented the Albert L.
Evans award during the 36th annual Boom Symposium at Scott Air Force
Refueling squadrons across all major commands and refueling platforms
compete for the prestigious award. The Evans award was established in
memory of Senior Master Sgt. Albert L. Evans, a pioneer in the history
of Strategic Air Command's air refueling operations. The purpose of the
trophy is to annually recognize, on a rotational basis, the most
outstanding Boom Operator section in the Air Force, based on the
accomplishments and professional qualities of the assigned Boom
"I think this achievement punctuates a tremendous year for our squadron
and especially our Boom Operators," said Senior Master Sgt. Shane
Hickman, 9th ARS superintendent. "Our Boom Operators are now part of a
select few that have won this prestigious award and no one will ever be
able to take that away from them."
Throughout 2014, the 9th ARS served as the cornerstone unit for
Operations Enduring Freedom and Inherent Resolve, maintaining a
significant worldwide presence and ensuring U.S. objectives were met.
Duing this period of activity, the 9th ARS executed more than 1,700
combat missions, offloading 41.8 million pounds of fuel to U.S. Air
Force, joint and coalition aircraft over Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
The squadron engaged in multiple Department of Defense capstone missions
within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, including
leading the coalition strike group conducting the first air strikes on
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant forces in Syria - a mission that
featured the first female Emirati flight lead.
The men and women of the 9th ARS have maintained what they refer to as
the "Gucci standard." A mantra they say epitomizes "executing the
mission safely, swiftly and with pride."
"Gucci is a symbol of excellence and prestige that our squadron truly
exudes each and every day," Hickman said. "The Gucci standard is always
performing at the highest possible level. It is always setting the bar
high and going above it. It is always pushing yourself and the team to
the limit and never being satisfied with mediocrity. It is having a
mindset that no one individual is bigger than the team."
Gucci aircrews also provided crucial air-to-air refueling support for
the first Iraqi offensive to reclaim the Mosul Dam - a significant asset
- in northern Iraq.
But offloading fuel wasn't the only mission-set the squadron was called
upon for. The iconic "triple-threat" of the KC-10 Extender was similarly
on display as the 9th ARS transported 3.9 million pounds of cargo and
moved more than 3,000 passengers.
With a considerably high operations tempo and approximately 45 Boom
Operators within the in-flight refueling section, these Airmen spent
roughly 200 days of the year away from home.
According to squadron officials, this is the third time the 9th ARS has
earned the Albert L. Evans award and the first time since 2006.
"We could not have achieved this award if it were not for the efforts of
our entire Gucci team," said Hickman. "This achievement is just
another example of "upholding that standard and mindset."