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Raincross Trophy dinner celebrates a decade

  • Published
  • By MSgt. Linda E. Welz
  • 4th Air Force Public Affairs
The 10th annual Raincross Trophy dinner, held at the Riverside Convention Center, in Riverside, June 11, was the culmination of the Fourth Air Force Commander's Conference.

The dinner, sponsored by the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce Military Affairs Committee, celebrates the excellent work and commitment of all 14 wings in the numbered Air Force.

"There was a very small percentage in points earned from top to bottom this year because everyone is doing a good job," said General Duignan.

The 445th Airlift Wing, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, was awarded the Raincross Trophy, which honors the work of aircrews assigned to wings under the 4th AF flag which display exceptional airmanship during an individual mission or sustained operations, and carry bragging rights as the best wing in the numbered Air Force.

Accepting the trophy on behalf of the men and women from the Ohio wing was the new commander, Colonel Stephen D. Goeman.

"Colonel Davis (the wing's former commander) told me at the change of command, 'You've got the best damn unit in the Air Force,' and he was correct," said Colonel Goeman.

Providing support for that statement, the 445th Maintenance Group was awarded the Chief Master Sergeant James K. Clouse Trophy in recognition of their outstanding performance.

"The men and women here always have the 'can do' attitude, as seen by their record with the C-141's and support of the Global War On Terror, and continue their level of excellence to this date on the C-5. They rightly deserved this award by their dedication and contributions to the 'Total Force'. We are honored by 4th Air Force's recognition of the 445th MXG," said Colonel Anna M. Schulte, 445th Maintenance Group commander.

Not to be outshined, the Aircrew Excellence Award was awarded to the crew of Reach 5141 from the 729th Airlift Squadron, 452nd Air Mobility Wing, March ARB, Calif. They extinguished an on-board fire, and safely landed the aircraft with no injuries to the crew or the 10 duty passengers on board. Crewmembers were Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Harris, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Bell, Major Antonio Astran, Master Sergeant Timothy Schmid, and Staff Sergeant Michael Stettler.

"When called to serve their country, they have done so proudly and courageously. These airmen displayed outstanding proficiency, steadfast devotion to duty and professional leadership by heroically and selflessly responding to and extinguishing a vehicle fire in the cargo section of their C-17A. I am proud to lead such outstanding aviators and Airmen warriors," said Colonel Jeffrey T. Pennington, 452nd Operations Group commander.

The keynote speaker for the eveining, Lieutenant General James E. Sherrard III (retired), said that each service has unique needs, but the bottom line is the critical part that each member plays in defense of this great nation.

"I'm here tonight to recognize all of you in everything you do. The men and women in your organizations represent the backbone of the Reserve," he said.

He told the 4th AF leaders that the public doesn't grasp the amount of work being done by Reserve members on a daily basis. The commanders were urged to meet challenges head-on, and be sure the story they are telling gets out to the public.

General Sherrard said, "Grab that public affairs officer right by the throat and tell you story!"

He then asked the commanders and command chiefs to visit their troops during all hours, not just eight to five.

"See what they're doing and let them know you care. The men and women of this command are the absolute best buy for America," he said.

Brig. Gen. (select) Keith D. Kries', 4th AF vice commander, introduced "something new, a creed."

"Why do we need a creed for America's Airmen when we have core values that serve as a bedrock for all we do? To remind us of our warfighting ethos. Regardless of our career or specialty, it's imperative that we think of ourselves and identify ourselves as Airmen," Kries said.

He introduced the Airmen's Creed video, but due to technical difficulties, the video would not play.

General Duignan stood and said, "Flexibility is key."

With that, Chief Master Sergeant Patricia Thornton, 4th AF Command Chief, showed great professionalism as she walked to center stage with a purpose -- to lead the entire group in a powerful rendition of the Airmen's Creed.

The 4th Air Force Color Guard opened the evening with posting of the colors and performing the POW/MIA ceremony.

The evening ended with a group sing-a-long of the Air Force Song.