JUNE 29, 2016, WASHINGTON – Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James announced the annual General Mark A. Welsh III One Air Force Award during a retirement dinner held in honor of the award’s namesake in Washington on June 23.
This new Air Force-level award will be presented to the service’s top total force team that demonstrates improved effectiveness, operational readiness and mission accomplishment through integrated solutions.
During the dinner, James explained one of Welsh’s first obstacles was to restore the relationship between the active-duty, Air National Guard and Reserve Airmen in the wake of sequestration. She also described how Welsh compared the impact of sequestration to a bomb burst that interrupted the harmonious formation in which the total force flew. However, he was confident the force would again fly as one.
“Today, just a few short years later, we are flying in formation once again and we’re flying like never before,” James said. “We’re working together from the flight line to the highest levels of the Pentagon. We truly are one Air Force … General Welsh, based upon your contributions to our total force, and also as a tribute to your dad, Mick, I’m honored to announce the establishment of the General Mark A. Welsh III One Air Force Award.”
To be considered, annual award packages must cover accomplishments made by a team composed of at least two total force components from May 1 to April 30. They must justify the team’s best practices and explain how the procedures would be limited if performed by a single component, how the team shared resources to achieve mission success, and how the process or procedure reduced barriers while maximizing the strengths of each component.
Total force leaders will facilitate the board and award points in three categories: contributions of an integrated team, scope of the impact to the total force and leveraging a total force team.
The Air Force chief of staff will recognize the winning team during the annual Air Force Association Symposium in September, and have their names engraved on the One Air Force trophy.
“On behalf of every Airman who has served in our United States Air Force, and every Airman who will serve in the future, thank you, General and Mrs. Welsh, for all you’ve done in the past and how you’ve set us on a path for the future,” said James.
The award will be managed by the Air Force Personnel Center, in accordance with Air Force Instruction 36-2805, “Special Trophies and Awards.”