Beale tops nation in repeat victory
For the second year in a row, Beale Air Force Base was named the best installation in the Air Forces Strategic Command.
Framed by a large American flag in a base hanger and thundering cheers and chants of "One team, one fight," Beale leaders and airmen accepted the prestigious award for 2004 on Monday.
"In short, it recognizes all that is great about our profession of arms, said Col. Domenick M. Eanniello, 9th Reconnaissance Wing Vice Commander.
"It's really the dedication the airmen give that led to wining the trophy, he said.
"It recognizes talent, bravery, and sacrifice of the warriors team Beale - both you standing before me and also put brother and sisters currently deployed forward, carrying out our mission each and every day," he said.
Beale won the same award in 2003. The award lags a year behind its presentation date, so although this is 2005, the award is for the year 2004.
John Whisler, a member of the Strategic Command Consultation Committee, presented the award before a crowd of several hundred Beale airmen who stood in front of a U-2, Global Hawk and a T-38 jet.
The 33-member committee is based in Omaha, Neb., and decides the winning base.
The award's presentation followed a busy year for the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, with more than 21,000 deployment hours and 9,000 combat hours - the highest in the Air Force, Eanniello said.
Eanniello noted during his speech that Beale also won four 'best of Air Force' recognition awards and 16 'best of Air Combat Command' awards for 2004.
James Cartwright, a four-star general who is commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, commended the work of Beale's airmen.
"It's really you that ought to be getting the applause," he said. "This is your trophy."
Appeal-Democrat reporter Daniel Witter can be reached at 749-4712. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.