78th Attack Squadron recognized for outstanding performance

  • Published
  • By Maj. Jessica Martin
  • 926th Group public affairs
The 78th Attack Squadron was recognized Apr. 23, 2013 for its outstanding flying operations in support of the 432nd Wing and 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing.

The unit received Air Force Reserve Command's 2012 Grover Loening Trophy, awarded annually to the command's best flying unit, exclusive of combat rescue and special operations.

"Our success was a direct result of the dedication and sacrifice of the warriors assigned to the 78th Attack Squadron, and their families," said Lt. Col. Brent, 78th Attack Squadron Commander.

"Our Total Force Integration partnership with the 432nd Wing is a model for the Air Force and Air Force Reserve. Our success is a subset of the great work that is done by the combined Air Force team supporting the 432nd AEW," he said.

The 78th ATKS maintains highly experienced and skilled, combat-ready citizen Airmen conducting integrated and expeditionary combat operations in the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper aircraft.

During 2012, the 78th ATKS conducted crucial kinetic and intelligence gathering missions in multiple theaters of operation. Aircrews flew more than 9,900 combat support missions totaling 25,048 flying hours, while accounting for 10 percent of the RegAF flying of their Reserve Associate squadrons.

The unit distinguished itself by providing near real-time, full-motion video for accurate battle damage assessments which were vital in allowing rapid re-attacks to achieve decisive counterterrorism objectives.

Additionally, 78th ATKS personnel supported more than 800 major operations to eradicate insurgent forces in multiple theaters, and provided armed overwatch with persistent intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance for more than 70 coalition air strikes.

In October 2012, the 78th ATKS split to create the 91st Attack Squadron, a second AFRC remotely-piloted aircraft squadron here.

"I'm extremely proud of both units for all of their efforts," said. Col. John Breeden, 926th Group commander. "These warriors are truly deserving of this award."

The Grover Loening Trophy was first given in 1964 and is named after noted aviation pioneer and first civilian member of the National Air and Space Museum's Advisory Board, Grover Loening.

The 78th ATKS has a long history. It was first activated in 1918 as the 78th Aero Squadron at Waco Field, Texas, and stood up here under AFRC in 2006. The squadron has participated in all major combat operations from World War I to Operation Enduring Freedom.