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Top wing commander team is honored

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Col. Ricky Rupp and his wife, Charlotte, received the General and Mrs. Jerome F. O’Malley Award during a ceremony here June 27.

Rupp, who led the 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, and is now serving as the special assistant to the commander, United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, United States Forces Korea.

Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry O. Spencer presented the award and Sharon Burg, the O’Malley’s daughter, made two special presentations of her own.

“We’re recognizing the best wing commander team in the entire Air Force,” Spencer said. “The focus they both had was always the Airmen.”

The annual award is named after General O'Malley and his wife, Diane, and recognizes the wing commander and spouse whose contributions to the nation, Air Force and local community best exemplify the highest ideals and positive leadership of a military couple in key positions.

During the ceremony, Burg presented Rupp with a set of brigadier general stars worn by her father. She also presented Charlotte with a crystal rose, a symbol of pink roses Diane O'Malley cherished.

She said the military rank symbolizes the selfless leadership of her father and the crystal rose represents her mother's grace. Both gifts are traditions to carry on the O'Malley’s legacy.

With Airmen as their primary focus, the Rupp’s empowered more than 5,700 total force Airmen to a new standard of excellence, garnering more than 108 higher headquarter-level awards, according to the citation.

“All the work that was done was done by the Airmen; it was done by everyone in the wing,” Rupp said. “They did all the heavy lifting. We just watched them and cheered them on.”

His wife echoed the sentiments, expressing how much it meant to serve with the Airmen of the 22nd ARW.

“For us, it was about the Airmen,” Charlotte said. “We’ll always cherish the time we had at McConnell (AFB), especially (with) the Airmen.”

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