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Altus AFB named Air Force installation excellence award winner

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. (AFNS) -- Air Force officials announced Altus Air Force Base as the Air Force's Commander-in-Chief's Installation Excellence Award winner March 6.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III broke the news to a crowded hangar of Airmen during a 97th Air Mobility Wing all call during his visit here.

"Congratulations. That's a phenomenal accomplishment," Welsh said. "It takes everybody in a wing to make it happen, and it takes everybody in the community to support you to accomplish this. It's really exciting news for all of us."

In addition to recognition as the best base in the Air Force, a monetary incentive of $1 million will be awarded for future quality of life improvements.

"This just confirms what I've known all along; the Mighty 97th has the best active duty, Reserve and civilian Airmen and what you've accomplished in the last year is nothing short of phenomenal," said Col. Bill Spangenthal, the commander of the 97th AMW. "Our focus on accomplishing the mission, developing our Airmen and caring for our families is the motivation to achieve even greater results in the future."

Air Education and Training Command Commander Gen. Robin Rand announced the wing as the AETC nominee for the award in November. The 97th AMW went on to represent the command at the Air Force level. Altus AFB and Travis Air Force Base, Calif., were the final two competitors in the running for the AF-level award.

A selection board consisting of four colonels visited in January to see the 97th AMW Airmen in action.

"Altus AFB has stood out as an example in innovation and cost-savings across our Air Force," Rand said. "This is a collective reflection of dedicated Airmen contributing to overall mission success. The result of their hard work can be seen throughout the service and around the world through global mobility. Thank you for your commitment to excellence."

Welsh and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody visited Altus AFB to thank Airmen and their families, and to learn more about the training and support missions here. Their visit also served as a perfect opportunity to announce the award. 

"It's a testament to what you do every single day for our Air Force," Cody said. "You're not asking for anybody to identify you for what you do, but you do it for a chance to serve your country. It's well deserved."

To win the award, an installation must demonstrate exemplary support for the Department of Defense mission and show marked improvement and innovative progress in various processes that are fundamental to an installation's successful operations.

As the Air Force's top installation, Altus AFB will compete for the Department of Defense's 2014 Commander in Chief's Installation Excellence Award.

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