6th MSG adapts, earns Air Force Outstanding Unit Award

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Scott Warner
  • 6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

The Novel Coronavirus has made a global impact in 2020, and in many ways, it affected how a military unit operates.

Despite this new challenge, the 6th Mission Support Group at MacDill Air Force Base was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.

“The most important quality to have in a COVID-19 environment is being adaptive,” said Col. Jason Loschinsky, the 6th MSG commander. “We were constantly learning how to best mitigate the risk associated with COVID-19 while implementing several changes here at MacDill on how to do this.”

Basic changes from social distancing, always wearing a mask, utilizing gloves when exchanging physical material with other people and changing hours of operation and how peer-to-peer interactions took place were some of the changes made.

Yet, while mitigating the risks of COVID-19, the 6th MSG mission never changed nor did it ever stop.

“I am really proud to serve on a team of Airmen that do this mission day in and day out,” said Loschinsky. “It takes an immense amount of training to get it done right and they get it right every single time while doing it in an environment that is constantly changing with a minimum amount of resources.”

Loschinsky added that is where innovative ideas and “smart work” makes a big difference.

So how did the 6th MSG accomplish this during a global pandemic?

The 6th MSG’s 6th Security Forces Squadron piloted the first-ever contiguous U.S. counterintelligence surveillance unmanned aerial system program and created a concept of operations for it. During the process, it also earned the 6th MSG the 2020 Gen. Larry O. Spencer Innovation Award.

Other achievements were:

  • The 6th Civil Engineer Squadron commanded two wildfire responses and six crews that contained blazes to 11 acres preserving wildlife and $15 million in property.
  • The 6th Communication Squadron built cyber threat detectors and developed the ability to detect attacks protecting $640 million in government property. 
  • The 6th Force Support Squadron was a 2020 Air Force John L. Hennessy Food Service Excellence Award finalist and won a local food competition against the top culinary students at the Art Institute of Tampa.
  • The 6th Contracting Squadron drove the sole Air Mobility Command contracting field training exercise amid COVID-19, which was an Air Force Chief of Staff priority.

​These were just five achievements among hundreds on their submission for the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.

“I have been extremely impressed with the professionalism, dedication and ability of the members of the 6th Mission Support Group,” said Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Bayes, the 6th MSG superintendent. “The support they provide to the 6th Air Refueling Wing and our mission partners is critical to mission accomplishment and they are more than deserving of this award.”

That includes the U.S. Special Operations Command, U.S. Central Command and 31 other mission partners that call MacDill AFB home, all of which are directly impacted by the support that the 6th MSG offers.

“The focus for our Airmen right now is providing professional customer support and it’s not just simply for Air Force active duty members, but for their families, our other service members, civilians and veterans as well,” said Loschinsky. “Despite those limiting factors such as COVID-19, I think these Airmen have done a really good job at accomplishing the mission while adapting to these new circumstances and that’s a pretty big part of our success.”

The problems faced with COVID-19 is ongoing, and as the national death toll has surpassed 430,000 people, the 6th MSG and its Airmen press on doing their job while taking precautions to protect themselves and the people they care about during their everyday work life.

For that, an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award might be a small and gratuitous way of being thankful for 6th MSG’s contributions over a year period, however it can be more accurately measured by the people it impacts every single day.