SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – The 183rd Air Component Operations Squadron (ACOS), 183rd Wing, based in Springfield has been selected as the Air Force Association’s Verne Orr Award recipient for 2022 at the Air National Guard level. The award, established by the Air Force Association in honor of former Secretary of the Air Force Verne Orr, recognizes an Air Force unit that makes the most effective use of its human resources.
Over the past year, the ACOS overcame training challenges due to COVID by conducting the first operational virtual drills in the history of the unit. This ability to adapt to ensure the unit could maintain the training of its more than 50 different Air Force Civilian Service specialties and skill levels was instrumental to not only supporting Illinois COVID response efforts, but Illinois counterdrug operations, Joint Task Force Haiti earthquake response, Operation Allies Refuge, and U.S. Transportation Command requirements at the 618th Air Operations Center.
“Innovation and adaptation are key components to ensuring readiness” said Maj. Gen. Rich Neely, the Adjutant General and Commander of the Illinois National Guard. “The Air Component Operations Squadron at the 183rd demonstrated their ability to overcome new and ever changing obstacles to ensure they were fully trained and ready to respond when their nation called. I am immensely proud of their hard work and dedication to the mission and this award serves as recognition of their ability, accomplishments and achievements.”
“The training and experience that the members of this squadron possess have repeatedly proven to be of significant value to the United States Air Force and the State of Illinois,” said Col. Jonathan Edwards, Commander, 183rd ACOS. “Over the past year, a time that has been undoubtedly challenging for all organizations due to the struggles created by the corona virus, the members of the 183rd ACOS exhibited innovative ideas to continue to meet the needs of the state and nation, accomplishing over 4,900 days on orders in support of six major events. The team’s professionalism, expertise, and continued willingness to answer the call is inspiring and I am humbled to serve as their commander!”
he 183rd ACOS was created in 2008 as one of five squadrons belonging to the 183rd Air Operations Group. It is a unique unit that employs nearly 100 subject matter experts in over 50 different Air Force specialties who train, augment and integrate with a numbered Air Force Forces staff.