By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
March 14, 2019
LOWNDES COUNTY, Ga. (WCTV) -- A tribute to extraordinary heroism in South Georgia was given Thursday after airmen from the 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Moody Air Force Base were recognized with a Gallant Unit Citation.
The Gallant Unit Citation is a major accomplishment. A tribute to extraordinary heroism, this is only the fifth time in history the award has been given out.
Moody Air Force Base officials say the citation is given to units for "extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force on or after Sept. 11, 2001."
Colonel Scott Hoffman served as commander of the unit, tasked with 24/7 combat operations from July 2017 until January 2018, supporting what's called Inherent Resolve.
"It was the best job I've ever had in my entire life," Hoffman said. "Putting themselves at risk to enemy fire, delivering munitions, sometimes within 20-30 feet of friendly forces, to make sure those guys can stay alive.
This is the first Gallant Unit Citation to be awarded at the unitary squadron level. The past for citations were presented at the group level.
While they say it's an honor, it's work they're proud to do.
"A great group of dedicated people who take their job very seriously," said Captain Brendan Lanphear, an A-10 Pilot with the 23rd fighter group. "We take close integration with people on the ground very seriously. I think it's a testament to their professionalism."
Moving forward after an accomplishment like this, Colonel Hoffman says this is really just a tribute to the air support and the hard work these men and women have always done and will continue to do.
The Gallant Unit Citation is the second highest award that can be granted to an Air Force Unit, behind only the Presidential Unit Citation.