JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
The 37th Training Wing at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland has been named as Air Education and Training Command’s 2022 recipient of the Verne Orr Award. The award, established by the Air Force Association in honor of former Secretary of the Air Force Verne Orr, recognizes an Air Force unit that makes the most effective use of its human resources.
“This is a huge honor for the Gateway Wing,” said Col. Rockie K Wilson, 37th TRW commander. “This is among the most coveted unit-level awards in the Air Force and we’re beyond pleased with this recognition. A huge thanks to all Warhawks and those who support our mission. This award once again validates the work our Airmen, Guardians, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines do each and every day. Commanding this wing is rewarding, mainly due to the amazing people we have on our team.”
Some of the 37th TRW’s most notable mission accomplishments included:
• The 737th Training Group successfully managed Basic Military Training operations during COVID-19, resulting in more than 36,000 Total Force graduates.
• The Inter-American Air Forces Academy was recognized as the Air Force’s premier international Enlisted Professional Military Education training center.
• The Defense Language Institute English Language Center championed the Secretary of Defense’s “succeed through teamwork” objectives.
• The 37th Training Group chartered aircrew virtual reality concept of operations at the 344th Training Squadron and was awarded AETC’s Innovation Pathfinder.
One of the more noteworthy achievements of the wing was its response to Winter Storm Uri in February 2021. The wing provided emergency relief and navigated through numerous power outages. With a team of more than 30 volunteers, they established kitchen operations, and sheltered, fed, and comforted more than 4,000 Airmen.
“The wing was hit by challenges all throughout 2021,” said Chief Master Sgt. Mike Morgan, 37th TRW command chief. “Each and every time we conquered one challenge, another emerged, but our cadre’s passion for their trainees and students and commitment to mission always pushed us through.”
Resource management was also recognized, including executing a continuous process improvement exercise for Airmen who were delayed in the training pipeline. The team’s 15 members did a thorough quality assessment of all relevant programs and developed 12 fixes. The end result brought a waiting list of 500 Airmen down to 25, saving more than $154,000 daily.
Another major accomplishment was piloting the Cardio Interval Training program for Basic Military Training – the largest change in 12 years to physical fitness at BMT. More than 400 Military Training Instructors from eight squadrons were trained on this critical aspect of BMT.
“Our wing is truly blessed in that we get to touch nearly every aspect of the training pipeline. The Warhawks take great pride in that responsibility and to have others take notice is beyond gratifying,” said Jose R. Surita Jr., 37th TRW executive director.