Release # 022707-01

Unit selected as U.S. Army
Fixed Wing Aviation Unit of the Year

CRANSTON – Maj. Gen. Robert T. Bray, the Adjutant General and Commanding General of the Rhode Island National Guard, announced today that D 126th-Theater Aviation Company, (TAC) R.I. Army National Guard, was selected by the Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA) as the United States Army Fixed Wing Aviation Unit of the Year for 2006.

The award was presented to D 126th commander Lt. Col. Gene Lambrecht, and D 126th First Sergeant Mark Fortin, during a ceremony on January 24, 2007 at the United States Army Aviation Center, Fort Rucker, Alabama.

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D 126th TAC is headquartered at Quonset State Airport in North Kingstown, Rhode Island and includes detachments from the Indiana and Pennsylvania Army National Guard. D 126th TAC’s primary mission is the rapid inter-theater aerial movement of critical logistics and personnel. In addition, the unit conducts special missions which include leaflet drops and the movement of detainees.

D 126th TAC deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom from December 2005 through November 2006. The unit, comprised of 36 soldiers, 22 contract maintainers and 11 C-23 Sherpa cargo aircraft, conducted combat fixed wing support operations throughout Iraq and Kuwait. Flying on average 150 missions per month, D 126th TAC fulfilled 10,000 Air Mission Requests with 5000 sorties and accumulated over 6500 combat flight hours. By the end of their tour, D 126th TAC conducted over 1600 missions, transporting over 30,000 passengers and 12 million pounds of cargo.

Additionally, the unit supported Special Operations forces and was subjected to numerous surface-to-air fire engagements, with two aircraft receiving battle damage. D 126th TAC has completed more battlefield logistical support than any other fixed wing unit in the Army during the Global War on Terrorism.

While in Iraq, two D 126 TAC members earned individual bronze stars, two additional members earned purple hearts and numerous others earned air medals.

“We are thrilled, but not surprised, that the AAAA has honored D 126th TAC with their prestigious Army Aviation Fixed Wing Unit of the Year Award. The accomplishments of D 126th TAC while deployed, were second to none.” noted MG Bray. “This marks another chapter of excellence in the history of the Rhode Island National Guard as our soldiers and airmen continue to make incredibly noteworthy contributions in the ongoing global war on terror. All Rhode Islanders should be proud of the accomplishments of the D126th TAC” concluded Bray.

The Army Aviation Association of America was formed in 1957 by senior active duty and reserve army aviators. It currently has more than 14,700 members and 66 chapters worldwide and is widely recognized as the premiere army aviation association.

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