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123rd Airlift Wing earns NGB Flying Unit Plaque

Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice (left), director of the Air National Guard, presents Col. David Moukes, commander of the 123rd Airlift Wing, with the 2017 National Guard Bureau Distinguished Flying Unit Plaque during the National Guard Association of the United States annual conference Sept. 10, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. The plaque is awarded annually top the top 10 percent of all Air Guard flying units. (Courtesy photo by Jay May)

Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice (left), director of the Air National Guard, presents Col. David Moukes, commander of the 123rd Airlift Wing, with the 2017 National Guard Bureau Distinguished Flying Unit Plaque during the National Guard Association of the United States annual conference Sept. 10, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. The plaque is awarded annually to the top five Air Guard flying units. (Courtesy photo by Jay May)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The 123rd Airlift Wing has earned its seventh National Guard Bureau Distinguished Flying Unit Plaque, for outstanding performance in operations, human resources, accident prevention and community engagement.

The award is bestowed annually on the top five Air Guard flying units. It was presented to Col. David Mounkes, wing commander, by Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice, director of the Air National Guard, during the National Guard Association of the United States annual conference Sept. 10 in Louisville, Kentucky.

“I continue to be amazed by the outstanding dedication of the Airmen in our wing,” Mounkes said after accepting the honor. “This award is the direct result of their hard work, personal sacrifice and pursuit of excellence every day of the year.”

The 2017 award recognizes achievements from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2016. During that time, the wing deployed 61 Airmen to seven countries and five geographic commands for a total of 3,176 Title 10 days.

Among the missions supported were several multinational airlift exercises, including Operation Sabre Junction in Italy and Operation Maple Flag in Canada. The wing also deployed special operators to four overseas theaters, conducting more than 100 combat missions and controlling over 120 coalition aircraft. The wing’s civil engineers deployed overseas as well, training with the Moldovan military while helping renovate a school for deaf children.

Back home, the wing’s 123rd Medical Group served as the lead agency for an Innovative Readiness Training program that provided no-cost medical, dental and optical care to more than 4,000 underserved residents in three Western Kentucky counties. The effort provided 13,000 procedures with an economic impact of $1.3 million over 10 days, including 1,800 pairs of prescription eyeglasses and $20,000 worth of medication.