The 56th and 944th Fighter Wing maintenance groups at Luke Air Force Base, referred to as the 1K Maintenance Group, were recipients of the 2020 Secretary of Defense Field-level Maintenance Award in the large category.
“This is the best TFI organization I have ever had the privilege to be a part of,” said Brig. Gen. Gregory Kreuder, 56th FW commander, during a conference call with the Honorable Barbara M. Barrett, secretary of the Air Force, as she congratulated the team. “I would offer up the 944th and 56th as a template for others that want to know what ‘right’ looks like. I couldn’t be more proud of the 1K maintenance team and it’s a real honor for them to get the recognition at this level."
TFI stands for Total Force Integration, an initiative launched in the late 1990s, blending of active, Guard and Reserve personnel and equipment to gain efficiency and effectiveness in support of the overall Air Force mission.
Ms. Barrett is an instrument-rated pilot trained and certified for space flight. She holds degrees from Arizona State University, and is an honorary commander alumni at Luke.
“I guess that when you add it up, you’re ‘batting a thousand,’” she said during the call, referring to the 1K MXG title. “I am proud of my past association and I am thrilled to know the recognition is coming your way from the full department. To be the recipient of this award is really a great statement of the constant excellence, the constant vigilance, and the constant performance that your two teams combine to do.”
In the collective efforts to write the maintenance award package for consideration, Senior Master Sgt. Anthony Abney, 944th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Tactical Aircraft Maintenance section chief, and a small team of Reserve and active-duty TFI partners worked together to prepare the package.
“The 56th could have sent in a package by themselves,” Master Sgt. Abney said. “We chose to do it as a TFI. So winning is even bigger because it shows how much of a force we are.”
Maintenance teams throughout the world, in all services, competed for awards in small, medium and large categories. A total of six field-level Secretary of Defense Maintenance award recipients were selected in each category. The best of the best will be selected from the six field-level award winners and presented the Phoenix Trophy on Wednesday, Jan. 13, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
“This is a rare and commendable accomplishment,” said Col. Jim Greenwald, 944th FW commander. My hat’s off to the entire 1K maintenance team. For our team to rise to the level that they beat out the other services — the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps — that is an incredible accomplishment. To have the Secretary of the Air Force call us to say congratulations is something I have never experienced. This is a testament to the strengths of TFI.”
Editor’s note: Master Sgt. Louis Vega is with the 944th Fighter Wing Public Affairs office at Luke Air Force Base.