06/06/04 — Base commander wins national honor

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Base commander wins national honor

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on June 6, 2004 2:03 AM

Brig. Gen. Eric Rosborg, the commander of the Fourth Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, has received the 2004 Top Wing Commander award from Air Combat Command.

Rosborg said he and his wife, Elizabeth, are excited. "But these awards have little to do with me," he said. "They're really earned by the airmen of the Fourth Fighter Wing, who work on the flightline and in every office and shop on base. One of the neatest things about our base is the relationship between the wing and the community is so strong. You can't fail here. The men and women of the wing carry the day."

Rosborg, 51, received the award Thursday night during a semi-annual commanders' conference at Offutt AFB in Nebraska. He said about 130 people attended. Announcing the award was Gen. Hal M. Hornburg, who commanded the Fourth Fighter Wing during the Gulf War. Hornburg took the helm of the Air Combat Command headquartered at Langley AFB in November 2001.

The command gives the award each year to one of the fighter and bomber wing commanders in the U.S. who has achieved the most over the past year in terms of community relations and management of the base. The purpose of the award, called the Moller Trophy, is to recognize the Air Combat Command wing commander who has demonstrated the most effective personal leadership to achieve and maintain the wing's combat effectiveness.

Jimmie Edmundson, chairman of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce's Military Affairs Committee, said he's not surprised about Rosborg receiving the award. In the two years he has been wing commander, he has become one of the most impressive people Edmundson has ever known.

"When you look at the accomplishments of this wing since he has been here, it's outstanding," he said. "I don't think I've ever been involved with a wing commander who has touched so many parts of the community. He and his wife have basically made sure there's not two separate communities here, but one. In my book, he is truly an outstanding wing commander. They're great people, and I'm sure we'll hear great things about them in the future."

The Ninth Air Force headquartered at Shaw AFB nominated Rosborg to the Air Combat Command at Langley AFB. The nomination said the Fourth Fighter Wing is prepared to fight "anytime, anywhere," and Rosborg is "a superb leader and class act -- the right person ... the right job ... the right time."

The nomination said he provided superior leadership to the Air Combat Command's most heavily tasked operational wing during an incredible period spanning multiple operations including Noble Eagle, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom -- "outstanding performance far exceeded all expectations!"

His "exceptional focus on mission accomplishment" was credited for the wing's meeting "vast F-15E and A-10 operational and training requirements, while improving the morale and welfare of over 5,500 military/civilians."

Rosborg led the Fourth Fighter Wing's Combat Wing Structure Reorganization. He achieved full operational capability in less than four months. The nomination said this was "an Air Combat Command benchmark! ... The Moller Trophy is all about combat effectiveness; Rick Rosborg prepared his wing for combat and then led them into battle. He is most deserving of this coveted award!"

Rosborg helped the base earn the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for two different wings in 2003. Some of the other unit-level awards for 2003 include the following:

*Best Equipment Maintenance Squadron in the Air Force, competing for the Phoenix Trophy at the Department of Defense level.

*The Air Force Nuclear Surety Safety Award.

*The Air Combat Command's finalist for Commander in Chief's Installation Excellence Award.

*Air Combat Command finalist for Clements McMullen Memorial Daedalian Maintenance Trophy.

*Best Budget Office in the Air Combat Command.

*Tri-Care Mid-Atlantic Region's Excellence and Innovation Award.

*The Air Combat Command's Best Explosive Ordnance and Disposal Flight.

*Air Combat Command's Maintenance Effectiveness Award.

*The Altschuler Award for Education Programs.

*Best Public Affairs in the command (Small Wing).

The nomination said he got the F-15E Formal Training Units back on schedule despite deploying more than 30 percent of their instructor pilots and 50 percent of their Instructor weapons systems officers. Under his leadership, the wing destroyed the equivalent of 60 percent of the Iraqi Republican Guard and more than 2,300 tanks, armored vehicles and artillery, 530 buildings, 80 air defense assets and 60 aircraft on the ground, with an 85 percent hit rate. The base transferred more than 28 million pounds of fuel and enabled time-sensitive targeting.

Rosborg directed the first ever combat surge of F-15Es and met objectives that were key to Baghdad's fall. He personally led a ground mission into hostile Iraq to investigate combat loss and recover remains. He led by example during Operation Iraqi Freedom, says the nomination, and he flew 24 demanding missions into Iraq with superb combat results.

Rosborg also has been extremely involved with the community, says the nomination. He conducted more than 80 tours and 50 speaking engagements. People under his command contributed more than 80,000 volunteer hours to 40 different off-base agencies in 2003. The base also deployed 250 airmen to Harrellsville to assist with clean-up after Hurricane Isabel cleanup. The group removed 40 trees in four days.