Monday, April 23, 2012

TOP STORY >> Trophy goes to base and community

Little Rock Air Force Base and its community council have won the prestigious 2011 Abilene Trophy, the Air Mobility Command’s Community Support Award, which was announced Friday.
The base and community won the coveted trophy in 2009, and then in 2010 it went to Pope AFB.

“The relationship between Little Rock Air Force Base and the local community is truly incredible. This award says it all — we have the world’s best community support,” said Col. Thomas Crimmins, 19th Airlift Wing vice commander.

The Abilene Trophy, a sculpted eagle, is presented annually to a civilian community for outstanding support to a nearby AMC base and the winner is determined by a selection group of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee in Texas with final approval by AMC.

“The community’s unwavering support of our base, mission and people is unmatched. They genuinely care about our airmen and are driven to make a difference,” Crimmins said.

Community support has been strong all the way back to the base’s beginning when local leaders raised $1.2 million to buy 6,600 acres and gave it to the Air Force to create LRAFB in 1955.

Formally known as the Air Mobility Command Community Support Award, the Abilene Trophy has been awarded annaully since its establishment in 1998.

The award’s sponsor is the Abilene Chamber of Commerce. Abilene is home to Dyess Air Force Base, which has an AMC contingent, the 317th Airlift Group.

But the base’s main host, the 7th Bomb Wing, is under the Air Combat Command and thus Dyess would not be eligible for an award sponsored by its host city.

The award is a sculpture of an eagle with its wingtip touching the representation of a rock. It represents the partnership between the Air Force and the community, according to award officials, with the outstretched wings of the eagle representing the Air Force and all it does to extend freedoms across the world, and the base is a rock because the community is the foundation by which the eagle much be supported to take off into the air.

Charleston Air Force Base, N.C., has won the award three times. Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., Dover Air Force Base, Del., Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., McDill Air Force Base, Fla., and now Little Rock Air Force Base have each won twice.