Air Force Featured Stories

Air Force Historical Foundation names 432nd Wing 2023 Doolittle Award winner

  • Published
  • By 432nd Wing Public Affairs Staff
  • 432nd Wing and 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing

The 432nd Wing and 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, received the Air Force Historical Foundation’s 2023, James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle Award, Jan. 23.

The award is earned by the U.S. Air Force or U.S. Space Force for displaying bravery, determination, discipline, esprit de corps and superior management of joint operations while accomplishing its mission under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions in multiple conflicts.

The 432nd Wing is the only wing to win the award twice, last earning the honor in 2017.

“None of this would have been possible without our Airmen and their families,” said Col. Nicholas Pederson, 432nd Wing commander. “I am supremely impressed with the personnel in this wing and their performance this last year. They rose to challenges in and out of combat operations and increased their capabilities with training while flying 24/7/365 combat in four combatant commands.”

From January to December 2023, the wing generated more than 8,579 sorties, which comprised of 222,000 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance hours and advanced the use of satellite launch and recovery, effectively aligning operations with Air Force Force Generation and Agile Combat Employment.

While the wing received the award in 2017 because of significant combat actions in the Central Command area of operations, the wing, its Airmen and the mission capabilities of the aircraft have expanded exponentially since, now flying in European Command, Africa Command, and Indo Pacific Command in addition to CENTCOM.

“Everywhere Col. Pederson and I go, we meet absolute professionals regardless of AFSC,” said Chief Master Sgt. Cory Shipp, 432nd Wing command chief. “It’s an honor to be a part of the wing’s leadership team and see all the phenomenal things our Airmen do. They’re a phenomenal team.”

Hunters now operate MQ-9s in four combatant commands around the globe, 24 hours a day, with operations expanding in Indo-Pacific Command as the most recent addition.

“We are shaping the future,” Pederson said. “We are not being shaped by the future. We are flying missions against all five threats in the National Defense Strategy, and we are tasked with more than just defeating enemies. We are actively deterring them through our presence and our persistent reconnaissance which informs our Joint partners in preparation for a potential high-end fight with peer adversaries.”

This year’s award also recognized the wing’s efforts to integrate with joint and Total Force partners through exercises with the U.S. Marine Corps and Air National Guard. These exercises tested and validated the footprint for forward operating and contingency sites and upgraded satellite communication capabilities. They also proved Hunters can operate in austere conditions with enhanced joint interoperability and combat readiness anytime, anywhere.

“The aircraft are technological marvels, but it’s the professional Airmen we have, regardless of AFSC, who allow us to execute our mission and enable our future,” Pederson said.

The 432nd Wing and 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing is comprised of more than 4,000 Airmen across five groups and 20 squadrons located at four bases, operating more than 30 MQ-9 Reaper and RQ-170 Sentinel aircraft around the globe, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.