Malmstrom celebrates Omaha Trophy win; remembers 9/11 attacks

The 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base was in February named the winner of the Omaha Trophy.

On Tuesday, U.S. Strategic Command Deputy Commander Vice Adm. Dave Kriete presented the trophy to Col. Jennifer Reeves, Malmstrom’s commander, and the wing.

Retired Lt. Gen. Robert Hinson of the Strategic Air Command Consultation (SCC) Committee joined Kriete in presenting the award.

341st Missile Wing again named Omaha Trophy winner

“You weren’t just given this trophy,” Hinson said. “The Omaha community is very pleased to award this trophy.”

The 341st Missile Wing won the award for 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2015.

“You should be proud of the job that you do,” Kriete said.

He listed many of the wing’s accomplishments over the last few years and said of the nuclear enterprise that “there’s no place in the DoD where we have more exacting standards.”

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The Omaha Trophy dates back to the U.S. Air Force’s Strategic Air Command and was originally created by the SCC in 1971.

At the time, a single trophy was presented annually as a token of appreciation to the command’s best wing. The SCC – an advisory group of business leaders in the Omaha area – became the Strategic Command Consultation Committee after the activation of USSTRATCOM in 1992.

Since then, the tradition has evolved to five awards to recognize USSTRATCOM’s premier intercontinental ballistic missile wing, ballistic missile submarine, strategic bomber wing, global operations (space/cyberspace) unit and strategic aircraft wing.

“This year’s Omaha Trophy winners demonstrated the highest levels of excellence in support of our global warfighting command,” U.S. Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command said in February. “These recipients best represent the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and civilians across USSTRATCOM who are critical to our nation’s most important mission: deterring attack and delivering decisive capabilities from, in, and through all domains wherever and whenever needed.”

During the ceremony Kriete and Reeves said it was a day to celebrate their accomplishments but also to honor those lost on Sept. 11, 2001 and in the ensuing Global War on Terror.

“Those that are here today have answered their nation’s call,” Kriete said.

Reeves said she was stationed at F.E. Warren and on her way to the missile field that day.

“We wondered if that day would be the day,” she said.

She said that’s what the wing and other missile wings prepare for everyday, should a day come that the U.S. launches nuclear weapons.

“This wing is a combat ready force everyday,” Reeves said.

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Kriete also said what the missile wings have done to increase capabilities of the UH-1N Huey helicopters has allayed many of Hyten’s greatest concerns about the yearslong effort to replace the aging helicopters.

The Air Force was planning to award a contract for the Huey replacement program this summer, but due to a pre-award protest, it was pushed to the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018. The fiscal year ends Sept. 30 and so far there’s no word on whether the contract will be awarded this month.

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Stinson said the SCC includes 25 civic leaders in the Omaha area who support the military operations there and have since 1971.

The group has focused on maintaining those military operations that drive $1.7 billion in economic impact in Omaha and look for ways to the support the military in a variety of ways, including a focus on helping spouses transition careers or find jobs.

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Omaha has learned lessons related to the Base Realignment and Closure process and Hinson recommends that communities stay engaged with military units.

“It is a community effort,” he said.