South Dakota Air National Guard wing named top fighter unit

By on Friday, September 24th, 2010

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.: The Airmen of the South Dakota Air National Guard’s 114th Fighter Wing have once again distinguished themselves as the most outstanding Air National Guard fighter unit in the nation. They were selected as the 2010 recipient of the National Guard Bureau’s Winston P. Wilson Trophy.

The trophy is awarded annually to the most outstanding Air National Guard unit equipped with jet fighter or reconnaissance aircraft. The presentation was made by Lt. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, the director of the Air National Guard at the annual conference of the National Guard Association of the United States in Austin, Texas.

“The selection for this prestigious award provides strong affirmation by U.S. Air Force leaders of their confidence in the contributions of the South Dakota Air National Guard to our nation’s defense,” said Col. Russ Walz, the 114th FW commander. “Recognitions such as the Winston P. Wilson Trophy provide significant validation of our unit’s readiness to continually step into new missions.”

The 114th FW recently was selected as one of the few Air National Guard units in the nation to convert from the Block 30 F-16 Fighting Falcon, which it has flown since 1992, to the newer and more advanced Block 40 F-16. Over the past two decades the unit has deployed eight times to allied bases Southwest Asia to fly combat missions.

This trophy was named for Maj. Gen. Winston P. Wilson, former chief of the National Guard Bureau from 1963 to 1971. General Wilson is considered to be the architect of the United States’ modern Ready Reserve, ensuring readiness of National Guard units to swiftly join regular forces on overseas missions. This is the fourth time the trophy as been awarded to the South Dakota Air National Guard. It was previously received in 1981, 1983 and 2007.

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