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931st Airmen receive 4th Air Force aircrew of the year award

Maj. Larry Brown, 1st Lt. Austin Aggson and Master Sgt. Tonya Halenka received the 2005 AFA award; Maj. Byron Rager was unable to attend due to being deployed.

Maj. Larry Brown, 1st Lt. Austin Aggson and Master Sgt. Tonya Halenka received the 2005 AFA award; Maj. Byron Rager was unable to attend due to being deployed.

MCCONNELL AFB, Kan. -- An 18th Air Refueling Squadron crew was chosen to receive the 4th Air Force Aircrew Excellence award.

Col. (Ret.) Nancy Driscoll, President of the Bob Hope Chapter of the Air Force Association, presented the award to three of the four crewmembers in a ceremony at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., July 27 during the annual Raincross Dinner.

Maj. Larry Brown, 1st Lt. Austin Aggson and Master Sgt. Tonya Halenka were present to receive the award; Maj. Byron Rager was unable to attend due to being deployed.
The award is presented annually to a Fourth Air Force aircrew.

Events that occurred between October 2004 and December 2005 solidified the award for the Air Force Reserve KC-135 Stratotanker crew.

During this period, the individuals participated in numerous voluntary deployments to the Central Command Area of Responsibility in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

"The actions that helped them win this award were performed while deployed in support of OIF as part of the total force," said Col. Clayton Childs, 931st Air Refueling Group Deputy Commander. "It is a visible reminder that Reservists from across the Group continue to fight the Global War on Terrorism side by side with our Active Duty and Air National Guard counterparts."

Members of the crew were honored and team oriented after receiving the award.
"I think the award says more than I ever could. The crews of the 18th ARS are well trained and disciplined and we did what we were trained to do and that's bringing the gas to the fight," said Maj. Brown. "You could substitute any pilots or boom operators names for ours from the 18th ARS and the result would still be the same."

The boom operator of the crew echoed similar sentiments.

"We are no more deserving than anyone else that was over there with us. We did what anyone else would have done," said Sergeant Halenka.

Up against the best in Fourth Air Force the 931st came out on top.

"This award speaks for itself as far as the individuals are concerned. To be selected as the outstanding aircrew from all of Fourth Air Force means the competition was extremely keen," said Col. Childs. "This is one of the most coveted awards in Fourth Air Force, and the one every unit puts in its best people and best packages for."