3rd Herd earns Communications Excellence Award

3rd Combat Communications Group

3rd Combat Communications Group

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla -- The award-winning 3rd Combat Communications Group has done it again, winning the Major General Harold M. McClelland Air Force Communications and Information Large Unit Award for the fifth time in the award's more than 30-year history.

The annual Air Force-wide award is given to only one unit each year. According to the award guidelines, "units must maintain at least 301 authorized positions while sustaining superior performance and professional excellence while managing core communications and information functions" and "for contributions that most improved communications and information support to Air Force and/or Department of Defense operations and missions."

In 2009, the 3rd Herd covered the world by mobilizing 361 combat Airmen for 31,559 days to 38 locations, including more than 150 Airmen supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Members of the 3rd Herd also deployed to Guyana to build a school and medical clinic. While there, they provided more than $580,000 worth of materials, affecting more than 19,000 people in the area.

To show their commitment to Air Force safety and their wingmen, they finalized an instrument landing system and an air traffic control tower, assisting in the safety of more than 36,000 flight missions per year, enabling the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

They also supported and sustained communication systems for more than 7,000 Army convoys and eliminated an 18-month helicopter problem in a landing dead zone thus improving safety for 600 flights per month.

The Herd was entrusted to support and maintain more than $2.2 billion in equipment during missions. During this period, they eliminated major deficiencies and outages in services and saved and repaired more than $10 million in equipment, including an unmanned aerial vehicle and Predator drone.

They also provided sustained combat support to various command and control, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, special operations and investigative forces and more than 900 Predator flight missions, leading to the capture of 18 high value insurgents.

During the fifth "Summit of the Americas," the 3rd Herd laid the foundation of security by deploying 18 combat warriors, who enabled vital communications, security and aircraft support for the Pakistan American Embassy and the President of the United States.

Also during this period, the 3rd Herd promoted seven senior airmen ahead of schedule and boasted five "Team Tinker" Award winners, two Airmen Leadership School distinguished graduates, one Non-commissioned Officer Academy distinguished graduate and Commandant Award winners.

"The men and women of the 3rd Herd earned this recognition with hard work, dedication and an intense combat spirit," Col. Thomas "Tank" Byrge, 3rd CCG commander, said of the award. "This is the Herd's fifth Major General Harold M. McClelland Award, which is a testimony to our continued legacy of excellence.

"We are unlike any other unit in the Air Force, and I am extremely proud to lead such an outstanding team. We get the mission done anytime, anywhere."

The award is named after Maj. Gen. Harold M. McClelland, the "Father of Air Force Communications," and is considered to be the highest recognition of communication-electronics excellence.