MINOT AIR FORCE BASE The Gen. Thomas S. Power Award for best overall missile crew in the Air Force in 2009 was presented to members of the 91st Operations Support Squadron during the Air Force Association 2010 Air and Space Conference in Washington, D.C., last month.
The 91st Operations Support Squadron is a unit of the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base.
The crew, honored Sept. 13, was recognized for its hard work and dedication to the success of Air Force Global Strike Command's deterrence mission, carried out at the Minot base by the 91st Missile Wing's Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile force.
"We have many members who perform with distinction daily, but don't receive the recognition such as the Powers Award," said Lt. Col. Kelvin Townsend, commander of the 91st Operations Support Squadron. "The missile crew's efforts and results have contributed greatly to the 91 MW's success."
The team pulled together to not only execute their duty as missileers, but also to successfully train more than 35 crews to accomplish a flawless code change, considered one of the toughest peacetime operations missile combat crews execute.
They integrated cutting edge techniques to contribute to the best nuclear surety inspection results in 20th Air Force. Officials called them "visionary" for facilitating the 91st Missile Wing being the first missile wing in the Air Force to add a next generation interactive simulator to classrooms.
Capt. Hameer Thatte, 91st Operations Support Squadron weapons and tactics planner, said they were merely, "doing our job."
Thatte and Capt. Adrian Zollinger, 91st Operations Support Squadron ICBM weapons and tactics instructor, were the award recipients.
"Captain Zollinger and I are extremely honored to receive the General Thomas S. Power Award," Thatte said. "To be named the best missile combat crew in the Air Force is extremely humbling when considering the efforts America's ICBM force contributes to our nation's nuclear deterrence mission 24 hours a day, 365 days a year."
Air Force Global Strike Command, the team's major command, expects only the best from their airmen. Airmen assigned to the command are granted with special trust and responsibility for the most powerful weapons in the nation's arsenal.
Reflecting on the command's messages, Townsend gave great props to his team for its keen attention to detail.
"They are off to a tremendous start in their career by earning the top ICBM crew spot within the Air Force," Townsend said. "Their success reinforces the training the ICBM crews receive, their execution of the mission with perfection day-to-day and the leadership's guidance within the 91st MW."
Echoing Townsend, Thatte said, "The General Power Award doesn't solely belong to two crew members; it belongs to the 91st Operations Group and ultimately Minot AFB as a whole."
"We would not be able to execute our day-to-day mission without the tireless support of our security forces, maintainers, helicopter operations, munitions squadron, facility managers, chefs, staff and our fellow missileers," he added. "Indeed, the Power Award highlights successes of all members of Team Minot."
"Bringing this prestigious award home to the 91st MW for the second year in a row is a true testament to the hard work and dedication Team Minot has put forth as we continue to strengthen the nuclear enterprise," said Thatte. "The American public can rest easy knowing Team Minot has some of the best airmen the Air Force has to offer.