VIENNA - The 910th Airlift Wing in Vienna is being honored among the Air Force's elite for its help with cleanup after last year's Gulf oil spill, the Air Force Reserve Command announced Friday.
The 910th is being honored with the ''Air Force Outstanding Unit Award'' recognizing the airlift wing for outstanding achievement from April 28 to June 4, 2010, when it sent two specially equipped C-130H aircraft and the associated personnel and support crew to Stennis International Airport in Mississippi to aid in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill cleanup efforts.
While they were deployed to the Gulf Coast, the aircrews flew 92 sorties and sprayed 30,000 acres with nearly 149,000 gallons of dispersant.
Maj. Brent Davis, head of public relations at the base, said the last time the unit received the award was 13 years ago. Davis said the award typically is given for service over a period of time. He said it is an honor to win it for a specific mission.
''It's something that just doesn't happen,'' Davis said.
Davis said more than 80 reservists made the trip during the mission, but lots more helped out, from the people who loaded the planes at the airbase in Vienna to those in the base's financial section who handled the paperwork concerning pay, and even private contractors who lent their expertise, as well.
''There's a lot of behind the scenes stuff,'' Davis said.
Col. Fritz Linsenmeyer, commander of the 910th Airlift Wing, said the Deepwater Horizon mission was the first time the Department of Defense used the oil dispersing capability of the 910th. He said the 910th Airlift Wing is the Department of Defense's only fixed-wing aerial spray capable unit.
''Our airmen have been training for this type of response and we are pleased to have been able to utilize their skills and capabilities to help make a difference,'' Linsenmeyer said.
He said he was proud of the Wing receiving the award as this was a team effort. ''All our reserve, civilian, and contractor personnel actively contributed to this exceptional achievement,'' Linsenmeyer said.
Davis said the award shows just how much dedication the reservists put into their jobs.