YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Staff Sgt. Jack Kindell, 353rd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron crew chief, reviews an electronic technical order prior to moving an MC-130P Combat Shadow across the flight line here March 31, 2011. The Cheboygan, Mich., native is stationed in Japan and is currently supporting Operation Tomodachi, which kicked off at the request of the Government of Japan to support humanitarian relief efforts for those affected by the earthquake tsunami disaster March 11. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrea Salazar)
DAEGU AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- A maintainer from the 353rd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron launches MC-130HCombat Talon II from here March 18. The aircraft is transporting personnel and equipment for relief operations in support of Operation Tomodachi. More than 300 Airmen and six MC-130 aircraft from the 353rd Special Operations Group stationed at Kadena Air Base, Japan, deployed to Daegu Air Base, Republic of Korea, for FOAL EAGLE 2011. The Airmen also supported Operation Tomodachi from Daegu after half of the force and three MC-130s deployed to Yokota Air Base, Japan, to support relief efforts to for the operation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jacob Zapata)
by Tech. Sgt. Kristine Dreyer
353rd Special Operations Group Public Affairs
11/29/2012 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan - -- The 353rd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron was presented the 2012 Secretary of Defense Field-Level Maintenance Award in the small category November 15 during the 2012 DoD Maintenance Symposium and Exhibition in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Maj. Ronald Thomas, 353rd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron commander, along with Chief Master Sgt. Frank Robertson and Master Sgt. Jeffrey Johnson both from the 353rd SOMXS accepted the award on the squadron's behalf.
"It's an honor to represent such a talented group of individuals," said Thomas. "I am extremely proud of our maintainers who work day in and day out to accomplish the mission no matter what obstacles they may face. Like I have said before, we are able to adapt and overcome on a moment's notice. What the squadron has accomplished in the last year demonstrates that. I am proud to lead such a strong and valuable group of people."
The 353rd SOMXS is a diverse unit whose mission responsibilities mirror a maintenance group. In addition to completing more than 9,000 maintenance actions, which led to 723 sorties generated and more than 3,000 flying hours, the 353rd SOMXS conducted six Joint Combined Exchange Training exercises and three Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed exercises in seven countries spanning the Pacific. While they continuously support Operations Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan and Philippines, the 353rd SOMXS also earned an overall "Excellent" rating on their Air Force Special Operations Command Operational Readiness Inspection.
In addition to scheduled operations throughout the year, the 353rd SOMXS is always ready to step up to plate when needed. While participating in a JCS-directed exercise, the 353rd Special Operations Group was called to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief after an earthquake and tsunami severely impacted Northern Japan. The 353rd SOMXS quickly shifted gears and generated 161 sorties that delivered 878,000 pounds of supplies to help support the one million people affected by the natural disaster.
"The men and women of the 353rd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron embody USAF core values and the group's focus...mission execution," said Col. Brad Sullivan, 353rd Special Operations Group commander. "Their actions continue to build the legacy of 'The Air Commandos of the Pacific."
A total of six field-level awards are presented in the categories of large, medium and small units. In the small category, 353 SOMXS received top honors along with the Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron Seven-Seven, Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.