154th FSS Receives 2023 Major General Eugene L. Eubank Award, Among Other Distinguished Honors

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. John Linzmeier
  • 154th Wing Public Affairs - Hawaii Air National Guard

The Hawaii Air National Guard’s 154th Force Support Squadron has taken home several National Guard Bureau-level awards for the year 2023, including the Major General Eugene L. Eubank Award.

This latter recognition is awarded to top-performing units that demonstrate exceptional support and service within the Air National Guard. It highlights the critical role of Force Support Squadrons in maintaining operational readiness and enhancing the capabilities of the ANG at both national and international levels.

Last year, the 154th FSS excelled at ensuring members were prepared for essential deployment tasks while ensuring the uninterrupted provision of base services. Their successful efforts enabled 444 Airmen to participate in six large force exercises. They mobilized hundreds of others to support real-world operations across six countries, significantly enhancing multi-national joint interoperability.

“The 154 FSS has successfully put in place the Multi-Capable Airman concept to mitigate manning shortfalls and increased mission sets,” said Col. Amy Arfman, 154th Mission Support Group commander. “They truly are remarkable in the level of effort they put out on a continual basis to ensure the men and women of this wing are supported. Their teamwork and ‘all hands on deck’ approach, regardless of Air Force Specialty Codes and duty titles, is a true mission enabler.”

In the Summer of 2023, when the city of Lahaina was struck with one of the most devastating wildfires in U.S. recorded history, members of the 154th FSS played a critical role in helping the community recover. The squadron deployed a 13-member Fatality Search and Recovery Team along with several hundred thousand worth of supplemental equipment. Their rapid response within 24 hours facilitated the clearance of 382 facilities and 379 vehicles. This effort aided FEMA and local emergency services in mitigating toxic exposure risks to the community, resulting in 34 recoveries.

“The Airmen on this team were tested on a physical, mental, and emotional level that most of us never experience, said Arfman. “They are the unsung heroes of the Lahaina Wildfire response. The professionalism, grit, and wherewithal they displayed while supporting the people of this state is a true display of selflessness.”

Among the Squadron’s top achievements last year, lies their critical contribution to Exercise Talisman Sabre. 154th FSS participation resulted in improvements to deployment reception processes while implementing Agile Combat Employment practices, supporting staff across a network of seven bases. Their efforts were instrumental in supporting 100 F-22 sorties, which fortified operational readiness among United States, Australia, and thirteen joint coalition partners.

Their commitment to service excellence extended to the culinary domain, providing 60,000 international meals to 35,000 participants during Talisman Sabre, while also ensuring the fitness and readiness of more than 2,300 Airmen.

The squadron's forward-thinking in leadership, innovation, and integration, particularly through initiatives like "Feed Our Airmen" and the development of a cutting-edge military education curriculum, underscores their pivotal role in enhancing Personnel and Services readiness.

Building on the remarkable achievements that led to their receipt of the Major General Eugene L. Eubank Award, members of the 154th FSS have been lauded for their outstanding contributions, earning several other top honors from the NGB. These accolades further underscore the unit's excellence and the exceptional caliber of its personnel:

● Force Support Reserve Component Company Grade Officer of the Year (Installation Level): Capt. Tina T. Kanatus is the first known Guardsman to take home this national-level award for the second year running, demonstrating unparalleled leadership and adaptability. Beyond her exceptional performance in assignments within the Pacific Air Force’s Inspector General Team and her instrumental role in the administration of Talisman Sabre, her ongoing management of accountability for Joint Task Force-Red Hill stands as a testament to her enduring impact and invaluable contributions to mission success.

● Force Support Reserve Component Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (SNCO) of the Year (Installation Level): Senior Master Sergeant Hyurn Chu and his strategic leadership have been a cornerstone in elevating the HIANG's combat readiness, notably through his pivotal roles in Exercise Talisman Sabre, operations Spartan Shield and Enduring Sentinel. His direct involvement in training and leading Airmen not only showcased logistic prowess but also significantly bolstered international defense collaboration and combat efficacy, marking a definitive impact on global security dynamics.

● A1 Special Recognition Team (Installation Level): The 154th FSS Fatality Search and Recovery Team’s rapid deployment and successful operation in the wake of the State of Hawaii’s deadliest wildfire exemplify their exceptional readiness and efficiency, conducted through the most challenging of circumstances. Covering an expansive area and delivering crucial closures to affected families, their actions highlight an unmatched level of preparedness and commitment to helping those in need.

“All the members of the 154th FSS team are worthy of awards, particularly over the past few years,” said Arfman. “We’ve gained additional F-22s, stood up an Air Defense Group, and took on two new weapon systems in the space arena, all while not gaining any additional manpower in the support units. They are the definition of doing more with less. Capt. Kanatus and Senior Master Sgt. Chu are at the forefront of their success.”