Defenders win Air Force level Award

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Alexi Myrick
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan.—The 22nd Security Forces Squadron from McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, achieved the Best Medium Unit Award in not only the Air Mobility Command, but also the Air Force.


“It’s an Air Force-level award which honors a squadron’s achievements and recognizes outstanding efforts of a team,” said Chief Master Sgt. Rebecca McNelley, 22nd SFS chief enlisted manager.



McConnell’s defenders were chosen out of 95 Air Force bases all around the world for this award.



“There are many security forces units across the enterprise deserving of this award, and we see this achievement as a representation of the outstanding work being accomplished every day by the thirty-eight thousand defenders across the Total Force,” said Lt. Col. John Farmer, 22nd SFS commander. “We defend our bases as weapon systems, and guarantee mission assurance at home and abroad.”


“In nearly 28 years I have never seen a unit work harder to protect, defend and fight,” said Farmer. “We are proud defenders, and we want this achievement to bring credit to everyone who wears the blue beret.”


There were many long days and extra training hours for these Airmen to be able to win this award. The security forces Airmen put in an extra 200 hours of training, specific to their job. This training does not include things such as computer-based training and annual training all Airmen are responsible for doing.


“To win an Air Force level award, it takes a lot of team work, commitment to the mission and someone with strong drive to lead a team,” said McNelley. “Lt. Col. Farmer had a vision of where he wanted to take our team, and he really took us to the next level from innovative ways of doing business, to the comradery and networking throughout the wing.”


“I couldn’t be more proud of the men and women of the 22nd SFS,” Farmer agreed. “It has been an honor to serve as their commander. All I had to do was tell them what I wanted from them and then try to keep up with their efforts.”


Farmer gave credit to their optimum shift schedule that protects the defender’s personal time, maximizing their training opportunities and maintaining their ability to surge in support of operational plans and contingences.


“The unit championed over $20 million in security system and security infrastructure upgrades to the installation,” Farmer continued. “The team accomplished all of this while securing the best airshow of the year and protecting the future of air refueling.  Bottom line: your defenders worked hard and had the positive attitudes you see every day the gates.”


The squadron’s hard work led them to develop a new barrier system at the gates with the help of the 22nd Civil Engineer Squadron, which would eventually spread to 35,000 defenders worldwide.


“This is not just our award — we couldn’t have done this without the collaborative efforts of 22nd CES, the support of the wing commander, the command chief and all of the squadrons throughout the wing,” said McNelley.


Of all of their accomplishments throughout 2018, McNelley said the thing that continued to push them was their mindsets.


“We have truly embraced the initiative of our senior leaders, we are in the mindset of, ‘How can we get this done?’” said McNelley. “Our initiative sets us apart from our competition because rather than using it as a roadblock, our Airmen use it to accomplish tasks.”


With all of the accomplishments of the 22nd SFS and with the help of the rest of Team McConnell, the defenders of McConnell were able to stand out among the rest of those across the Air Force.


“This was truly a Team McConnell win,” exclaimed Famer. “Every group and unit on this base had a hand on this award, and our senior leaders and Total Force partners supported us and put us in a position to win.  On behalf of the men and women of the 22nd SFS, we thank you all and know we are proud to be a part of this team.  We are A/R!”