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5th Bomb Wing awarded the 2019 Omaha Trophy for Strategic Bomber Wing category

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Ryan Walsh
  • 5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

As a result of their exceptional service and outstanding performance, the 5th Bomb Wing was announced as one of five winners of the 2019 Omaha Trophy. U.S. Navy Adm. Charles Richard, commander of U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), announced the winners last week on September 21, 2020. 

"The Omaha Trophy is awarded to the best of the best in executing strategic deterrence," said Richard. "This year’s winners distinguished themselves through hard work, selfless dedication and innovative thinking."

The Omaha Trophy began from a single trophy presented to the command’s best wing in 1971 by the Strategic Air Command Consultation Committee for the U.S. Air Force’s Strategic Air Command. Over the years and into the activation of USSTRATCOM in 1992, the tradition developed into five awards recognizing the commands top intercontinental ballistic missile wing, ballistic missile submarine, strategic bomber wing, global operations unit and strategic aircraft wing. 

The 5th Bomb Wing is being recognized in the strategic bomber wing category for its mission accomplishment and effectiveness. Through enhancing interoperability with international partners and strengthening its ability to provide strategic deterrence, to leading innovation and bolstering readiness capabilities, they have embodied the statement of  "Only The Best Come North."

"Our Warbird airmen have, and continue to set the standard for mission excellence, constant innovation and teamwork," said Col. Michael Walters, commander of the 5th Bomb Wing. "While this recognition is humbling and hard earned, I look forward to seeing the Warbirds continue to soar to new heights."

Over the course of 2019, the Airmen of Team Minot showcased their ability to be the backbone of strategic deterrence. The 5th Bomb Wing engaged in 452 Air Expeditionary Force deployments, 293 Higher Headquarter missions, and sixteen multinational exercises supporting six Combatant Commands on six continents. In addition to their extensive presence worldwide and boosting joint capabilities, the airmen of the 23d Bomb Squadron carried out the busiest Continuous Bomber Presence in the Indo-Pacific region in seven years. The 69th Bomb Squadron also completed the longest Continuous Bomber Presence deployment in history. Through the year-long deployment, they tenaciously endured the highest operational tempo with 475 sorties and exceeded Higher Headquarter mission expectations.

Holding mission readiness as one of its highest priorities, the 5th Bomb Wing administered a BIVOUAC exercise in Fargo, North Dakota. The exercise highlighted the abilities of the 5th Civil Engineer Squadron to construct an expeditionary base with an airfield, and then defend it. Training with the 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Airmen were able to use this training to stay sharp and mission ready with the culmination of 1,200 total hours of training.

Maintaining an ever-ready posture comes from the diligence and hard work that Team Minot Airmen demonstrate on a daily basis. Through 59 inspections, 21 exercises, and 11 audits, the 5th Bomb Wing obtained the maximum overall grade from all 32 Higher Headquarter agencies that were hosted. Furthermore, they ranked #1 in Air Force Global Strike Command history for a Nuclear Surety Inspection with zero deficiencies and 14 superior performers, as well as eight superior team achievements.

The perseverance and steadfast approach to always being mission ready has led to many awards and recognitions. The 5th Bomb Wing was ranked #1 in a Headquarters Air Force Inspector General readiness assessment with the first no-notice dual wing generational exercise where they planned and organized sixteen strike packages and eight B-52 sorties. Additionally, they ranked #1 Air Force-wide for the Personnel Reliability Assurance Program (PRAP) leading the Department of Defense’s largest PRAP population and having the #1 Air Force Medical Treatment Facility out of 76 total. Amongst these many accomplishments, out of all of Air Force Global Strike Command, Team Minot ranked #1 in Nuclear Bomber maintenance, dominating the competition and acing two nuclear operations.  

To sustain mission readiness and capabilities, there has to be a push to innovate to stay future ready. Team Minot built the Air Force’s first automated armory capable of arming 1,500 Security Forces Airmen in half the previous time and cutting airmen shifts by 4 hours. The TCMax automated armory is the largest dual-wing armory and holds an 8,000-item inventory.

The importance of training is never overlooked at the 5th Bomb Wing. Through the innovative spirit, three squadrons came together to develop a virtual reality threat trainer to enhance hands-on training. Their creation led the way across Air Force Global Strike Command with eight wings adopting the new training platform.

The innovation and training to stay sharp and ready is made possible by the outstanding and enduring support from the Minot community. The City of Minot was awarded the Barksdale Trophy, an award that highlights exceptional community support. By working closely with community leaders and partners, Team Minot was also able to drive three new state laws. Among these laws, one allows military spouses to use out of state licenses in North Dakota to enable a greater number of professionals to apply their skills in the community. 

As with the importance of the support of the Minot community, the support of every Airman's family helps maintain the dedication and resolve it takes to accomplish the mission. Team Minot pioneered the telemedicine initiative to increase enrollment in the Exceptional Family Member Program by 20%, to enhance accessibility to medical services. This supported access to three additional specialties to provide greater care and support.

The leaders and Airmen of the 5th Bomb Wing, through their unwavering dedication to training, innovation and always being mission ready, proved themselves as the best of the best. Whether here at home or supporting operations all over the world, the leaders and airmen of Team Minot are proof that "Only The Best Come North!"