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180th FW wins back to back ACA unit awards

From left to right: Maj. Gary Bentley, wing executive officer; Lt. Col. Tim Moses, operations support squadron commander; Col. Steve Nordhaus, wing commander; Tech. Sgt. Bruce Hedrick, command post controller and Chief Master Sgt. Scott Boyer, Aerospace Control Alert chief of enlisted maintenance.

From left to right: Maj. Gary Bentley, wing executive officer; Lt. Col. Tim Moses, operations support squadron commander; Col. Steve Nordhaus, wing commander; Tech. Sgt. Bruce Hedrick, command post controller and Chief Master Sgt. Scott Boyer, Aerospace Control Alert chief of enlisted maintenance.

Swanton, Ohio -- The 180th Fighter Wing walked away with the Unit of the Year Award for the second consecutive year at the 1st Air Force Aerospace Control Alert Awards banquet in March. Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. hosted this event.

Additionally, Tech. Sgt. Bruce Hedrick, a command post controller 180th FW, was awarded ACA Command Post Controller of the Year and Lt. Col. Timothy Moses, 180th Operation Support Squadron commander, received the ACA Pilot of the Year.

Moses said that his award was a Wing award because there is no way he could have earned it without the support of the entire 180th FW organization.

"What made our unit stand out, more than anything else, were the members of our unit," said Lt. Col. Deron Reynolds, 180th FW ACA commander. "We have talented people who were able to, upon request of the 1st Air Force, go to other units to help them enhance or develop their alert mission in operations and maintenance. When one unit goes to help another unit the word gets around."

In 2008, the 180th FW joined the 1st Air Force ACA mission. The mission serves as a component of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, a United States and Canada bi-national organization commonly known as NORAD. It provides coverage for the Continental NORAD Region or CONR.

A collaboration with homeland defense, security, and law enforcement partners, the primary mission of NORAD is to prevent air attacks against North America by safeguarding the sovereign airspaces of the US and Canada. This mission also includes responding to unknown, unwanted and unauthorized air activity approaching and operating within these airspaces.

Reynolds added that when the country is depending on you at a moment's notice, to put a couple of armed jets airborne and defend the country, everyone has to understand that the mission must come first.

"I don't think you can do this mission without putting service before self because it is a 24/7 mission," said Reynolds.

"There are a quite a few folks that have made personal sacrifices to make the mission strong," said Moses. "Working nights, weekends, birthdays, holidays and anniversaries to get the job done."

Reynolds continued, the core value of excellence in all we do best described the ACA unit here because of its consistent success.

"When we stood up this mission, we compiled all best practices we could find from other units and it has paid off," said Reynolds. "We have become a model for other units such that they use our programs and procedures as a benchmark for their own. This is why we have representatives in every discipline so we can proudly display and send them to other units."

"In the fall of 2011, we helped ACA units across the country by standing up one ACA unit and assisting two other units to successfully complete their NORAD Alert Force Evaluations or AFE," said Moses. "Basically, we helped them establish their policies and procedures for their ACA mission by sharing our successful practices."

Last November, the command of the ACA unit changed from Moses to Reynolds after Moses accepted a position as commander of the Operations Support Squadron at the 180th.

"The challenge will be staying at the top, but we will do a do great job at continuing to succeed as a wing under Col. Reynolds' leadership," said Moses.

Reynolds added that the ACA unit will continue to do the same excellent work they have done in the past because there are key individuals in this unit who have made this mission a high priority, such as Moses, Hedrick and Senior Master Sgt. Steven Groner, ACA production superintendent.

"These individuals have inspired others to raise their game as far as meeting the requirements of the mission," said Reynolds.

Moses said that his personal accomplishment was a culmination of the hard work and dedication of the entire wing. Also, it was a tribute to the support that the ACA unit has received for the last three and a half years.

"It was a privilege to be the commander of the best ACA unit in the nation," said Moses. "This was by far, one of the best jobs of my career."

For more information on ACA and NORAD, visit NORAD's website, www.norad.mil

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