AES earns outstanding squadron of the year award

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Bobby Pilch
  • 315th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, was named the 2015 Air Force Reserve Command Outstanding AES Unit of the Year.

More than a dozen units throughout AFRC were in consideration for the award, which eluded the squadron in years past.

“To say that I’m ecstatic would be an understatement,” said Col. Diane DiFrancesco, 315 AES commander. “The men and women of the squadron have worked extremely hard over the past year and this recognition is truly well deserved.”

Significant accomplishments that lead to this award involved supporting Operations Inherent Resolve, Freedom’s Sentinel and United Assistance.  The squadron executed 313 aeromedical and 154 medical/tactical evacuation missions and airlifted 1,451 patients to higher care during their mission deployments.   

“While deployed, our unit played a key role with the development and training for the Ebola mission,” said DiFrancesco. “Additionally, members of the 315 AES served as advisors to the Afghan aeromedical unit by helping them develop their overall mission.”

Teamwork is a vital piece to Air Force culture and unit cohesion.  Without it, missions would not get off the ground.

“The whole unit needed to pull together and they did,” said Capt. Lee Knoell, a medical service corpsman and air reserve technician with the 315 AES.  “Everyone is extremely excited and morale is very high.”

According to Knoell, one squadron member who has been with the unit since 1996 does not recall the unit winning the award prior to this year. 

“This could be a once-in-a-lifetime achievement for some members of the squadron,” said Knoell. “It’s something I have been chasing for quite some time.”

Leadership from the 315 AES will travel to National Harbor, Md. Nov. 29 to attend the 2016 Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S. Annual Continuing Education Meeting to formerly accept the award on behalf of the squadron.

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