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23rd BS receives multiple Air Medals


Minot reached another milestone when 58 officers from the 23rd Bomb Squadron each received Air Medals for flying missions in support of operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom Tuesday. 

Air medals are awarded to Airmen for either sustained meritorious combat service or for single significant sorties. The Air Medal was established May 11, 1942, when President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9158. 

“This is the biggest combat decoration presentation I have ever been a part of,” said Lt. Col. Robert Hyde, 23rd Bomb Squadron commander. “What a privilege to be able to pin the same medal on lieutenants and lieutenant colonels for their bravery and combat expertise in the air. This is awesome to be giving out all these at one time.” 

The 23rd Bomb Squadron has played a role in the global war on terrorism since Sept. 11 by launching and flying sorties from multiple locations throughout the world.
“These medals show we’re involved in the fight and carrying out the mission of the 5th Bomb Wing -- bombs on target, on time,” said Colonel Hyde. 

Another milestone reached is the combat experience gained. 

“[Percentage wise] we now have the most combat experience in the history of the B-52,” explained the colonel. “Although B-52s have been involved in combat in Vietnam and Desert Storm, we’ve never had such a majority of our crew force with deployment and combat experience. This is proof the B-52 is a very capable weapon system in today’s and tomorrow’s combat zones.” 

Some of the experienced gained was by Airmen who had only been out of training a few months “I have brand new lieutenants with hundreds of hours of combat time,” said Colonel Hyde. “There are a few of us [Strategic Air Command] warriors left in our midst, but we’re a dying breed. This is a whole new generation stepping up and taking the reigns and doing it magnificently.” 

The 23rd BS was tasked with 246 missions and launched on 246 missions, ensuring a B-52 was over the enemy every time it was tasked. None of this was possible without incredibly well maintained aircraft, according to Colonel Hyde. Planes being launched in both sub zero and above 100 degree temperatures is testament to how well Minot’s B-52s are maintained. Our maintainers are absolutely the best. Our aviators know they’re getting an awesome jet when a 5th AMXS crew chief salutes and touches the wingtip as we taxi out.” 

“It is an extreme honor to be their commander,” said Colonel Hyde. “They impress me at every turn.”

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