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Col. James Locke, 128th Air Refueling Wing commander, is flanked by Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice, left, Air National Guard director; Col. Daniel Yenchesky, Wisconsin Air National Guard chief of staff; Brig. Gen. Gary Ebben, Wisconsin’s deputy adjutant general for Air; and Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general, after being presented the NGAUS Distinguished Flying Unit at the 2017 General Conference and Exhibition Louisville, Ky,, Sept. 10. Established in 1959, and first awarded in 1960, these plaques recognize outstanding Air National Guard flying units. The criteria for the award changed frequently throughout the years until 1970, when the plaques were authorized for the five highest-rated Air National Guard flying units, after the Spaatz Trophy winner. Factors included in the evaluation are flying safety; aircraft operation readiness; weapons firing; unit alerts; unit manning; skill level qualifications; retention; drill attendance; operational readiness inspections; outstanding accomplishments and special missions and exercises. Conditions adverse to the unit mission and beyond the unit’s control were also taken into consideration. Department of Defense photo by Jay Way

MILWAUKEE — The 128th Air Refueling Wing was honored by two military associations for its outstanding service this past year.

On behalf of the men and women of the 128th Air Refueling Wing, wing commander Col. James Locke accepted the Air National Guard’s 2016 Distinguished Flying Unit Award Sept. 10, during the National Guard Association of the United States 139th General Conference and Exhibition at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

“It’s such a privilege to be a part of this organization,” Locke said. “To be recognized as one of the top five performers out of 90 wings is a true honor.”

In addition, during the Air Force Association Air, Space and Cyber Conference, Locke accepted the 2016 Outstanding Flying Unit Award Sept. 19 on behalf of the 128th Air Refueling Wing.

“It was extraordinary to be amongst all the top Airmen of the United States Air Force to witness the 128th Air Refueling Wing receive the Outstanding Air National Guard Unit of the Year,” Locke said. “For our Airmen to be recognized in two fantastic venues is extraordinary.”

These awards indicate meritorious service to the Air National Guard and the Air Force, a result of achievements supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and Operation Inherent Resolve. For those missions the 128th Air Refueling Wing contributed 2,393 flying hours and fueled 1,028 receivers with 11,330,000 pounds of fuel.

Additionally, the air refueling squadron’s training section completed 85 aircrew training programs to provide mission-ready, worldwide deployable aircrew to further the unit’s wartime mission.

Service members with the 128th Air Refueling Wing participated in numerous exercises that contribute to its readiness and excellence.

“The 128th Air Refueling Wing is committed to maintaining its future as a leading refueling unit in the Air National Guard,” Locke said.

The 128th Air Refueling Wing is positioned to continue its excellence this year by supporting hurricane relief efforts as the first military responder in the homeland and deploying more than 150 members across the globe in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and the Pacific Command Theater Support Package as the nation’s primary combat reserve.