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Dyess Airmen recognized for Max Endurance Operation

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  • By 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

In recognition of their extraordinary achievement during a historic Max Endurance Operation (MEO), 19 Dyess personnel were awarded Aerial Achievement Medals by Col. Thomas Lankford, 317th Airlift Wing commander, on May 10, 2024.

These Airmen distinguished themselves during the MEO, dubbed "Hazard Leap," which marked a first for Air Mobility Command. On April 20, 2024, a C-130J Super Hercules from the 40th Airlift Squadron, equipped with external fuel tanks, embarked on a remarkable 26-hour and 33-minute single-aircraft mission to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The aircraft made only one fuel stop in Hawaii, demonstrating the C-130J's ability to operate for extended periods without stopping.

This operation not only highlighted the wing's extended range capabilities but also set a new standard in operational endurance. The successful MEO from Dyess to Guam showcased the wing's ability to rapidly deploy into the Indo-Pacific Area of Responsibility and be ready to immediately conduct any follow-on missions.

The Air Force Aerial Achievement Medal is a military decoration awarded by the U.S. Air Force. It is presented to members of the Air Force who have demonstrated meritorious achievement or service while participating in aerial flight. The medal recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the success of a mission, displayed exceptional skill or professionalism in flight operations, or have shown outstanding leadership in an aerial capacity.

The Air Force Aerial Achievement Medal is typically awarded for sustained performance or specific achievements during aerial flight, such as combat operations, operational support missions, or other significant contributions to the Air Force's mission. It is often awarded to pilots, aircrew members, and other personnel involved in aviation-related roles.

“This mission marked a first for not only the 317th AW but for all of AMC,” said Lankford. “I’m proud of every Airman who put in the work to make this possible to showcase the power of the C-130J Super Hercules and the innovation and lethality that makes Dyess the best of the best. These Airmen made history by breaking barriers within the military aviation community and once again proved that the 317th AW can bring tactical airlift to anywhere in the world at any time.”