By Staff Writer | December 14, 2015
The U.S. Air Force’s 801st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron has been named this year’s winner of the Phoenix Award for Maintenance Excellence, which is presented annually to the military’s best field-level maintenance unit. The squadron’s mission is to perform all equipment maintenance for 17 CV-22Bs’ worldwide special operations missions in support of the 8th Special Operations Squadron. With fewer than 300 personnel, the squadron supported more than 1,200 sorties and 3,500 flying hours (28% of the Air Force 1st Special Operations Wing’s required missions in fiscal 2014), according to its award citation. In addition, the squadron developed an in-house capability that allows maintainers to repair components for the Bell-Boeing tiltrotor locally, which the Defense Dept. said saved taxpayers more than $46 million. It also recovered three battle-damaged CV-22s and repaired them for safe transport and return to their home station for major depot repairs. In the 31 years of the Phoenix Award, this is the Air Force's seventh win.