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McConnell named AMC finalist for 2013 CINC Installation Excellence Award
Col. Ricky Rupp, 22nd Air Refueling Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Kaleth Wright, 22nd ARW command chief, cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the football field Sept. 12, 2012, McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the field was used for the first intramural football game of 2012. The field was one of many quality-of-life improvements made at McConnell during 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jose L. Leon)
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McConnell AMC finalist for 2013 CINC Installation Excellence Award

Posted 10/3/2012   Updated 10/3/2012 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Abigail Klein
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

10/3/2012 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- McConnell is Air Mobility Command's finalist for the 2013 Commander-in-Chief's Installation Excellence Award.

As AMC's finalist, McConnell will go on to compete against nine other bases to earn the Air Force nod for the award.

To compete for the award, a detailed report was submitted by each base in AMC. McConnell was then visited by the Installation Excellence Selection committee, who evaluated the base and Airmen in September 2012.

The CINC IEA was created in 1984. It recognizes the efforts of the people who operate and maintain DoD installations and who have done the best with their resources to support the mission. The award encourages environments that promote innovative and creative ways of enhancing base-level services, facilities and quality-of-life.

The 22nd Air Refueling Wing commander, Col. Ricky Rupp, had this to say:

"We are honored to be selected as AMC's nominee! This recognition is a tremendous achievement for McConnell Airmen, their families and our civic partners. It represents all the phenomenal teamwork between the 22nd ARW and our Total Force partners, the 931st Air Refueling Group and the 184th Intelligence Wing. It's a huge win for McConnell and the Greater Wichita Area."

During the board's visit, McConnell personnel provided briefings and demonstrations to highlight innovative programs that help create and sustain superior operations and accomplishments.

In the past year, McConnell ceremoniously opened the Total Force Maintenance Facility, a work center that embodies the Air Force's Total Force Initiative by sharing resources between active duty and Air Force Guard and Reserve components including aircraft, crews, maintenance and support.

"This recognition speaks volumes about the total force effort that makes up Team McConnell," said Col. Mark Larson, 931st Air Refueling Group commander. "Colonel Rupp and the 22nd ARW have fully embraced Total Force Integration and have taken great measures to ensure the active duty and reserve components here work together seamlessly to achieve shared success. It is truly a pleasure to work with him and his team as our host unit."

To become AMC's finalist, various quality-of-life improvements for junior Airmen were noted during the inspectors visit.

The AMC benchmarked program, The Den, was created by the chapel as a unique Airman-focused program, offering a place for Airmen to socialize while participating in different programs daily after work hours.

Airmen were also considered when McConnell's Fitness Center hours were extended to accommodate more Airmen's schedules. The football and soccer field near the fitness center was also renovated with state-of-the-art materials including new bleachers, player and coach benches to accommodate intramural football and soccer sports, said Tech. Sgt. Shad Winter, 22nd Force Support Squadron fitness center sports director.

"If you feel you are part of a family and cared for," said Senior Airman Justin Gassner, 22nd Medical Operations Squadron health service management, "[With the quality-of-life here] it is so much easier to strive for the best. Living up to the core values is easier to do if you have the leadership that supports you."

Green initiatives made on base were also showcased to the inspectors.

A fuel-savings plan, which will potentially save the AMC more than $470 thousand annually, was developed here at McConnell and earned recognition from the Air Force's Innovative Development through Employee Awareness program.

Another example of McConnell's initiatives were found in the addition of the boom operator weapons system trainer. The state of the art trainer helped cut fuel costs by more than $6,000 an hour, by replacing traditional KC-135 Stratotanker sorties which average almost $49,000 for an eight hour mission.

McConnell's relationship and impact on the community were also analyzed by the inspectors.

In 2012, McConnell's community outreach was expanded even further with the induction of 15 community members into the Honorary Commander's Program. The HCC program gives local community leaders the opportunity to participate in special events, programs and activities sponsored by a McConnell Squadron or group. The program is designed to benefit the military and its civilian partners by as they share ideas and learn from each other.

"McConnell AFB is an incredible asset to Wichita and to Kansas," said Pat Gallagher, Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce government relations manager and a McConnell Golden Eagles member. "I am thrilled to hear that the base has been chosen as a finalist for this prestigious award; it is an honor richly deserved and one that I fully expect will result in a win."

As AMC's finalist, McConnell has the potential to win $1 million as an incentive award to invest in the Airmen's quality-of-life. To win the award, McConnell will undergo another inspection later this year

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