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Give 'er the gun!
BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq -- "Give 'er the gun," shouts Brig. Gen. Frank Gorenc with his fist in the air while singing the Air Force song during the wing change of command ceremony here, July 5. Lt. Gen. Gary North, U.S. Central Command Air Forces commander (left) officiated the passing of the 332d Air Expeditionary Wing flag to Brig. Gen. Robin Rand and announced that General Gorenc received the Moller Award as the most outstanding commander in Air Combat Command for his year of service in Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Tony Tolley)
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Brig. Gen. Gorenc best in Air Combat Command

Posted 7/7/2006   Updated 7/7/2006 Email story   Print story


by Lt. Col. Bob Thompson
332d Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

7/7/2006 - BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq  -- Before Brig. Gen. Frank Gorenc relinquished command of the 332d Air Expeditionary Wing here July 5, he found that his bittersweet day had an unexpected extra.

During the ceremony's opening, Lt. Gen. Gary North, commander of U.S. Central Command Air Forces, announced that General Gorenc had won the Joseph A. Moller Award.

"No commander has done it better," General North said. "That is why he was selected as the most outstanding wing commander in Air Combat Command."

The award recognized General Gorenc's leadership of the only Air Force wing in Iraq. He was responsible for about 21,000 Airmen who deployed through four Air Expeditionary Force rotations at five air bases in Iraq. This included Balad's single-runway operations which are the busiest in DOD and second only in the world to London's Heathrow International Airport.

During his year-long tour, the general ensured the success of 11,000 combat sorties which included 80,000 flying hours. More than 220,000 passengers and 117,000 short tons of cargo flew through the air bases under his command. He commanded the largest Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle operation in the world, and the first and only C-130 cargo squadron forward-based in a combat zone.

The 332d AEW has two F-16 squadrons which fly close air support missions and delivered more than 230 precision-guided bombs, 35 Hellfire missiles, 180 rockets and about 4,000 rounds of 20 mm cannon fire in support of coalition ground operations during the general's tenure.

Besides the flying mission, General Gorenc provided support to Airmen at 58 bases serving in Army and Marine roles such as Air Force "gun truckers" who rode shotgun on more than 5,000 convoys for more than 4 million miles.

Awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the general was recognized in the citation for increasing the survival rate for trauma patients to 96-percent - the highest in military medical history - for those admitted to the Air Force Theater Hospital, the busiest medical facility in Iraq.

General Gorenc passed the 332d AEW flag and command responsibilities to Brig. Gen. Robin Rand, previously assigned at the 56th Fighter Wing, Luke AFB, Ariz.

"It is not easy for me to see General Gorenc leave," said General North who officiated the ceremony.

"I know you are extremely proud of the Red Tails during your tenure of leadership here," said General North to General Gorenc. "It is clear that the enemy knows who the Red Tails are."

The 332 AEW draws its heritage from the famous Tuskegee Airman of WWII who flew P-51 Mustang fighters with red painted vertical stabilizers.

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