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16th Maintenance Group holds annual awards bash

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla -- More than 1,000 Airmen attended the 16th Maintenance Group’s annual Maintenance Bash in Freedom Han-gar May 18, to recognize top performers at Air Force, major command, wing and group levels.

The MXG bash was started to celebrate the largest operational maintenance group in the Air Force.

To kick off the bash, Colonel Norman Brozenick Jr., 16th Special Operations Wing commander, addressed the crowd and offered his praise by saying, "The professionalism and commitment to excellence demonstrated by the men and women of the 16th Maintenance Group reflected great credit upon themselves, the Air Force Special Operations Command and the United States Air Force."

Awards were given to units throughout the group. The 16th Helicopter Maintenance Squadron received an Air Force-level award for maintenance effectiveness. AFSOC awards were presented to the 716th Maintenance Squadron for small aircraft maintenance effectiveness and the 16th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron for medium aircraft maintenance effectiveness. The 16th MXG received the Clements McMullen Memorial Daedalian Maintenance trophy for overall excellence in group maintenance.

"It was a great event honoring not only the winners, but all maintainers," said Col. John Cooper, 16th MXG commander.

Significant accomplishments of the group this year included recording a 77.2 percent mission-capable rate in six different airframes while maintaining a constant presence at five separate locations in Southwest Asia. They continued their fourth straight year of generated combat sorties in Iraq and Afghanistan, while also providing combat air power in the continuing Global War on Terrorism. Overall efforts led to skillfully balanced combat operations with key aircraft modifications, tests, upgrades and scheduled maintenance.

In addition, the group's humanitarian efforts were also vast this year. Following

Hurricane Katrina in September, the 16th MXG provided support for rescue operations for 1,395 New Orleans residents and helped deliver 7,750 pounds of relief supplies to the region.

“Once a year, we take pause and honor those who served with distinction and contributed selflessly to our Air Force and our special operations command,” said 1st Lt. Ming Xu, 4th Aircraft Maintenance Unit assistant officer in charge and maintenance bash committee chairman.

The bash provided an escape for Airmen who have been working around the clock in support of contingency operations.

"The MXG bash was a great way to tie up loose ends with old comrades that had been out of touch for some time because of all the deployments and temporary duties that we've endured," said Senior Airman Jennifer Tartt, 15th Aircraft Maintenance Unit assistant training manager. "It was also an effective way of communicating to our folks of all ranks and to our civilian workers that our group really does care about the hard work, blood, sweat and tears that we put into maintaining our aircraft."
Leaders from across the wing attended the bash to show support for the maintainers here.

"They know how hard all of our maintainers work," said Colonel Cooper. "They know that whatever the mission – hurricanes, operational readiness exercises or the war, our 16th MXG maintainers deliver capable, lethal airpower for our operators to take care of America's business."

"I wish I could say that we had the entire maintenance group present. But, as a part of the special operations wing we will always have people deployed or working an off-shift supporting the wing mission 24/7," said Lieutenant Xu.

Maintenance members made several toasts to the Air Force and top leaders during the ceremony. The event took six months to plan and took the help of everyone in the MXG.