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319th Reconnaissance Wing earns Meritorious Unit Award

Airmen stand at attention and salute while facing the stage.

U.S. Air Force Airmen salute during the singing of the national anthem at the 319th Reconnaissance Wing change of command ceremony at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., June 28, 2021. The 319 RW maintains and operates the RQ-4 Global Hawk, which is a high-altitude, all-weather, remotely-piloted aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dakota C. LeGrand)

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --

The Air Force recognized the 319th Reconnaissance Wing for exceptionally meritorious service from June 1, 2019 to May 31, 2021.

During this timeframe, Airmen of the 319 RW made significant advances in unmanned aviation while providing over watch and communication support during the drawdown of United States forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions provided critical command and control to joint operations across 1 million square miles.

"This award is more than a medal," said Col. Timothy Curry, commander of the 319th Reconnaissance Wing. "This is the Air Force acknowledging at the highest level that Warriors of the 319th have a global impact each day they show up to work.”

Utilizing unique partnerships with Grand Sky Technology Park, Department of Homeland Security and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the 319 RW was able to blaze a trail for the integration of small unmanned aircraft systems and beyond visual line of sight flight operations into the National Airspace System which promoted the next generation of aviation.

“We are continually facing challenges in both aviation and ISR, but our Airmen develop ways around those limitations and keep pressing until the ‘new thing’ becomes routine,” said Curry.

One example is the validation of all Joint Domain Command and Control, where the Global Hawk was integrated with the advanced battle management system, enabling the first-ever live ISR streams from the aircraft directly to Marine forces on the ground.

On the cyber warfront, when higher headquarters asked 319 RW Airmen to secure a key cyber terrain for primary base mission platforms, they collaborated with special project offices to stand up a defense capability nine months early.

The 319th Reconnaissance Wing has earned the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award eight times previously as the 319th Air Refueling Wing, twice as the 319th Air Base Wing, and once as the 319th Reconnaissance Wing.

“Never have I been more proud to be a part of a team as I am today. It’s my hope that each current and past member of our 319 team feels the same Warrior pride,” said Curry.