MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. - Thunderous cheers and applause from Minot's Airmen reverberated with pride inside the Dock 1 hangar as Vice Adm. Cecil Haney, U.S. Strategic Command deputy commander, and Mark Theisen, Strategic Command Consultation Committee member, awarded the Air Force's only nuclear capable dual-wing base with Omaha Trophies June 15.
Col. James Dawkins, 5th Bomb Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Martin Smith, 5th BW command chief, accepted the trophy for best Strategic Aircraft Operations. Col. Stephen Davis, 91st Missile Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. John Hoffman, 91st MW command chief, accepted the trophy for best Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Operations.
The event marks the second time in Omaha Trophy and Minot AFB history since 2000 that Minot won two awards in the same year with no other base accomplishing the same feat.
"This is historic and it also reinforces a point that General Kehler emphasizes - flexibility and resilience demonstrate the credibility of our deterrent," Admiral Haney said. "Bitter cold, mountainous snow fall, and the epic flooding of the Souris River have pushed you to the limit, but despite all these challenges you persevered and maintained the standard of perfection required of our nuclear forces. "
Admiral Haney highlighted some of the 5th BW's accomplishments including outstanding nuclear readiness, having the best maintenance program in Air Force Global Strike Command, and the timely and accurate expert delivery of 1,700 weapons. In highlighting the 91st MW he noted the wing as achieving the best rating in the 20th Air Force during the Combat Capability Evaluation and earning the Department of Defense's highest possible rating during the Nuclear Surety Inspection.
"Effective deterrence requires we demonstrate to our adversaries that we have exceptional crews, first-rate delivery platforms, reliable and devastating weapons, as well as a superb supporting enterprise. Earning the Omaha Trophy is clear evidence that these two wings have gotten their part right," Admiral Haney said.
Mr. Theisen praised the winners and offered insight into the origins of the award with the Minot presentation marking his participation in three of the four award ceremonies for the year.
"The Omaha Trophy was established in 1971 to recognize the command's best of the best. So this recognition of excellence is a 40-year tradition to reward your display of leadership, commitment, and dedication to what we hold so dear - our freedom," Mr. Theisen said. "This award sets you apart - it truly is the super bowl trophy in your mission areaof national defense and you should be very proud of this accomplishment. "
Winners are chosen based on formal evaluations, meritorious achievement, and safety in addition to other factors including community involvement and humanitarian efforts.
Prior to the awards ceremony, Admiral Haney and Mr. Theisen toured units in both wings. Visits to the 91st Missile Wing included the 54th Helicopter Squadron where they boarded a UH-1N for an aerial tour of Minot AFB and the surrounding community. Additionally, they visited a launch facility where they surveyed surrounding flooding. Stops at the 5th BW included a briefing at the 5th Operations Support Squadron, a visit to the 5th Maintenance Group to view the B-52 Stratofortess and meet with Airmen, and a live fire demonstration from the 5th Security Forces Squadron.
"These shared accomplishments speak volumes about the incredibly close relationship between the 5th Bomb Wing and 91st Missile Wing," Admiral Haney said. "Your teamwork and friendship have truly made you partners in excellence. "