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News > AETC Top Operations Squadron awarded to 87th FTS
AETC Top Operations Squadron awarded to 87th FTS

Posted 3/28/2013   Updated 3/28/2013 Email story   Print story


by 2nd Lt. Lyle T. Ratcliffe
47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

3/28/2013 - LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The 87th Flying Training Squadron won the Top Operations Squadron Award in Air Education and Training Command for the first time in 12 years.

The 87th FTS stood out from about 45 operational flying training squadrons across AETC this year.

"This has been a challenging year for the Red Bulls, and I'm very proud of the efforts and positive attitudes of each and every member of our team," said Lt. Col. James Keen, 87th FTS commander. "We faced a series of difficult challenges this year, and they stepped up every time."

Specifically, the squadron overcame a 30 percent instructor manning shortfall, a 116 percent student load, and severe maintenance limitations due to budget restrictions.

"Our instructor pilots, maintenance and support personnel were working long hours and sacrificing their personal time to achieve the mission," said Keen. "That's the epitome of dedication, and safe operations were never sacrificed to attain results."

The 87th FTS also has a reputation as committed volunteers and good citizens by their involvement with a variety of events and programs in the Del Rio community. Squadron members volunteer in youth and prison outreach programs, church functions and charity fundraisers. They also helped with the Running with the Bulls 5K, which had more than 500 participants and raised more than $56,000 for Val Verde Loaves and Fishes, a local food bank.

"The folks in our squadron work hard to maintain a positive relationship between the Del Rio and Laughlin communities," said Lt. Col. Randy Oakland, 87th FTS director of operations. "They not only work hard, but they participate and volunteer."

The 87th FTS has been honored with various awards this year at the group, wing, and AETC levels. However, this award was the number one goal set out for the squadron, said Keen.

"We are just so pleased our squadron is receiving recognition for all the hard work and sacrifice they put in this year," said Keen. "It was a total team effort up and down the line and we are thankful for the support and positive relationship with the Del Rio community and Team XL."

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