HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. --
The 319th Special Operations Squadron, who provides support to special operations forces using the U-28A aircraft, recently accepted the 2014 David C. Schilling award for their role in overseas contingency operations from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2013.
The David C. Schilling award is given annually to an Air Force military member, Department of the Air Force civilian, unit or group of individuals that gave the most outstanding contributions to the nation’s defense in the field of manned flight in the atmosphere or space.
“Plain and simple, this squadron has simply been running at full tilt since it stood up over seven years ago, and has been fortunate enough to explosively grow in mission and personnel,” said Lt. Col. Stanley B. Arant, 319th SOS commander. “They are quiet professionals who take their contributions to the mission very seriously, and always strive to improve both forward deployed and in garrison.”
Using their versatile aircraft and its ability to operate from short and unimproved runways, the Airmen from the squadron distinguished themselves while providing direct support of air operations to five distinct geographical locations.
“Every member of the 319th and the U-28 community has the true mindset of serving the ground forces,” Arant said. “They put dedication to the mission above any and all comfort or risk to themselves.”
The neutralizing of 101 enemies and the capture of 107 high-value individuals are the direct result of the 319th’s ability to provide critical air-to-ground interface with assault forces.
“The mission demands our members to think quickly and make life-threating decisions on a daily basis, both deployed and in garrison, said Capt. Chay Berbigny, 319th SOS pilot. “We have 135 professionals who care deeply about each other and the mission; that's what makes us efficient.”
Since the beginning of 2013, the squadron has flown over 3,000 combat sorties racking up over 17,000 combat hours, all in hostile airspace, with zero combat losses.
“Our sense of pride as a squadron manifests itself in the hard work and results we get down range, Derbigny said. “Our motivation to do so is boosted knowing what we do is important.”
The 319th SOS has continued their success into 2014, contributing countless hours in overseas operations. Due to their hard work, this year, they have been nominated for the 2015 David C. Schilling award, as well.
“I am absolutely proud and tremendously humbled to be the commander of this squadron,” Arant said. “My command here has been the highlight of my 20 years in the military.”