USAF selects 320 MS missile combat crew as the best

  • Published
  • By Joseph Coslett
  • 90th Missile Wing

The Air Force Association recognized the 320th Missile Squadron with the 2019 Gen. Thomas S. Power Outstanding Missile Crew Award on F.E. Warren Air Force Base in April 2019.

The award recognizes 1st Lt. Austin Van Hoesen, 320 MS Assistant Flight Commander and 1st Lt. Jedediah Simpson, 320 MS Missileer, as the best missile combat crew in the Air Force.

“This award is a significant accomplishment in the missileer community — it represents the pinnacle of being a missile operator” said Lt. Col. George Chapman, 320 MS commander.

AFA recognizes the best missile combat crew in Air Force Global Strike Command annually with this award. General Power was commander-in-chief, Strategic Air Command, from 1957 to 1964. He was the father of SAC's inter-continental ballistic missile force and was directly involved in the planning and deployment of the Atlas, Titan and Minuteman ICBMs.

“While other operator recognitions, such as Global Strike Challenge, represent prowess in operating the weapon system, the Powers Award also considers the whole-person concept,” Chapman said. “In essence, this crew demonstrated the competency as operators and as officers—the best of both worlds.”

In the last year, Van Hoesen and Simpson complied a number of achievements, including: Responsibility for 9,600 square miles of missile field while serving in the alternate command post; executing $95 million ICBM software testing while finding efficiencies; key players in Olympic Flag, Global Thunder, simulated electronic launch minuteman test, finding 22 lessons learned; and quickly and safely evacuating a launch control center due to a fire saving four lives and $13 million in equipment.

“Our proudest accomplishment is the culmination of several events from last year instead of just one individual event,” Van Hoesen said. “Ultimately, we’re proud of the friendship that we’ve been able to build as a missile combat crew over the last year. “

Their contributions did not stop at work, as they also made an impact in the community. Their efforts led to delivering 126 meals to the elderly; helping plan Wyoming’s largest event, Cheyenne Frontier Days; leading the wing softball and soccer teams; assisting Boy Scout troops to get 43 merit badges; and repairing vehicles for low income families; plus much more.

“Austin and Jed are cast from the mold of true professionals,” Chapman said. “Neither of them seek recognition or praise. They are credible to their peers and are held in high regard by their fellow squadron members.”

Simpson shares his thanks to leadership and family.

“I attribute our success to the faith our leadership has placed in us and to the support of the wing,” Simpson said. “Success is not an individual accomplishment, we are a part of the F.E. Warren team. I couldn’t perform the mission without the support of my family.”

The Power Award recognizes their actions as a crew for a 12-month period, which means they were constant and consistent in their efforts to pursue excellence, according to Chapman.

“What I am most proud of Austin and Jed for is their constant effort to improve,” Chapman said. “We are what we do continuously; therefore, their excellence was not the result of a singular instance, but the result of a sustained effort.”