36 AS is best airlift squadron in PACAF
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Pacific Air Forces recently recognized the 36th Airlift Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan, as the Best Airlift Squadron in the Pacific.
In addition to being the best squadron, a 36th AS aircrew was recognized with the General James H. Doolittle Trophy, highlighting the most outstanding Air Mobility Command aircrew that best characterizes and epitomizes qualities and traits for which Doolittle is famous.
The crew earned the trophy for their performance during Operation Christmas Drop in December 2012.
According to Capt. Andrew Booe, the aircrew pilot and aircraft commander, the crew pulled off a last minute, in-flight navigation to ensure Christmas Drop maintained a 100 percent drop-rate success.
"My crew and I were flying the final mission of the operation," Booe said. "My aircraft and our sister ship took off from Andersen AFB, Guam, to accomplish humanitarian airdrops to multiple remote island drop zones."
On the last day of the operation, Booe said his aircraft was loaded with extra bundles of supplies, but after completing their scheduled drops, there were remaining bundles.
"We contacted the University of Guam, our liaison to the islands, to ask where they wanted our remaining bundles," Booe recounted. "We had heard on our common frequency that our sister aircraft had had some problems with a couple of their drops, so we thought that some of the islands might need our additional supplies."
Receiving coordinates from their sister aircraft, Booe and his crew headed for the islands with missing bundles.
"We plotted the island's location more than 150 miles from our current position," he said. "We determined that we would have the necessary fuel reserves to deliver the extra bundles and still fly back to Guam safely."
The other aircraft remained on site until the trophy-winning aircrew arrived and dropped the remaining bundles successfully, supplying all islands.
According to Booe, overall Operation Christmas Drop delivered more than 20 tons of critical supplies to 56 remote islands in the South Pacific.
"It is an amazing honor to be the PACAF nominee for the Doolittle Trophy," Booe added. "When you consider what General Doolittle accomplished during his career, it is incredible to even be thought of for this award.
Booe said if it wasn't for the support of the 36th, his team wouldn't have been recognized with the trophy. He added that his crew's actions and the overall success of Operation Christmas Drop 2012 assisted the squadron in being named the 2012 Best Airlift Squadron in PACAF.
Tech. Sgt. Pablo Herrera, 36th AS loadmaster on the Doolittle-winning aircraft said, "this award represents a lot of teamwork from everyone involved at Operation Christmas Drop -- the CMF riggers who created the bundles, the maintenance teams that launched us with a mission-ready aircraft and all the training back at Yokota to get us trained and ready for these type of humanitarian airdrops."
The recipients of the 2012 General James H. Doolittle Trophy are:
Capt. Andrew Booe - Pilot
Capt. Derrick Monnier - Pilot
Capt. Dillon Deutsch - Copilot
Capt. Joe Cziko - Navigator
Tech. Sgt. Robert Dela Caza - Engineer
Tech. Sgt. Pablo Herrera - Loadmaster