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80th OSS tops in AETC

Airman Benjamin Dicker inspects an MBU-20/P oxygen mask

Airman Benjamin Dicker, an 80th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment technician, inspects a breathing component for the MBU-20/P oxygen mask at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, May 20, 2021. This piece is thoroughly cleaned and inspected for damage or replacement parts every 30 days. Dicker along with many others, make up the extensive team keeping the 80th OSS mission focused and the best at what they do. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michelle Martin)

Mark Burroughs airs out the canopy gores of a parachute

Mark Burroughs, an Aircrew Flight Equipment Specialist with the 80th Operations Support Squadron, airs out the canopy gores of a parachute at Sheppard Air Force Base, May 24, 2021. This process will allow him to move forward to the next step of packing the parachute back into the headrest of the pilot’s seat. Burroughs has dedicated his time as part of the 80th OSS for 26 years, having previously served in the Air Force for 20 years. The dedicated members of the OSS work like a well-oiled machine and are mission focused. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michelle Martin)

Daniel Arellano inspects connector links on the harness assembly of a parachute

Daniel Arellano, an aircrew flight equipment specialist with the 80th Operations Support Squadron, inspects connector links on the harness assembly of a parachute at Sheppard Air Force Base, May 24, 2021. The entire 40-foot parachute must be carefully looked over from end to end both visually and through and extensive itemized checklist. This inspection process can take up to three days to complete. Arellano is just one of the many moving parts in the ‘Swiss Army Knife,’ a term used to describe the 80th OSS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michelle Martin)

Lt. Col. Enrico Luisi monitors incoming and outbound flights inside the air traffic control tower

Lt. Col. Enrico Luisi, of the Italian Air Force and 80th Flying Training Wing supervisor of flying, monitors incoming and outbound flights inside the air traffic control tower here at Sheppard Air Force Base, May 20, 2021. Luisi is one of the many international team members which makes up the 80th OSS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michelle Martin)

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – There is reason they call themselves the Swiss Army Knife of the Air Force and are currently considered the best at what they do. As the old English idiom goes, the proof is in the pudding.

The 80th Operations Support Squadron has proven to stand out among the rest as they received recognition by Air Education and Training Command as the top OSS for 2020 in operations and training support.

 “As AETC’s largest OSS, through the COVID-19 pandemic, we never once fully stopped our operations due to disease spread limitations,” said 80th OSS Commander Lt. Col. John Scott.

When the tough got going with the pandemic, sometimes creating hurdles, the 80th OSS got tougher and continued to work as a team no matter the circumstances.

In fact, Scott said, there were two objectives at the OSS. One was to never stop because of COVID-19, and the second was winning the AETC OSS of the year.

“To be quite honest, I thought those were two lofty goals,” he said, “but what do I know? They have a service-before-self mentality, always looking to serve others when needed and they were intent on getting to ‘yes’ on mission-related tasks to support other units.”

In addition to supporting normal Sheppard AFB and Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training flying operations, the squadron also provided support for 116 temporary duty members with altitude chamber training in Aerospace Physiology, filled multiple deployments around the globe and assisted sister flying wings. This was done while also managing AETCs largest air traffic control training program, providing 196 certifications and 23 upgrades throughout the year.

Scott also said many students awaiting pilot training played critical roles for COVID-19 in areas of sanitization efforts and public health assists in conjunction with day-to-day operations.

The 80th OSS also facilitated base ariel port operations in support of the transportation and processing of 6,600 Airmen in Training and two million pounds of mission-essential cargo for the 82nd Training Wing.

The squadron’s efforts were recognized recently during the 80th Flying Training Wing’s Unit Effectiveness Inspection in March. The AETC Inspector General team noted the lack of undetected noncompliance which is rarely seen in an OSS.

Chief Master Sgt. Jonathan Clegg, 80th OSS superintendent, said he gets the luxury of seeing the OSS machine in motion everyday as different flights come together in support of the flying training mission. It all starts with the people who do the work.

“It’s the boots on the ground,” he said. “It’s the military, civilians and contractors getting their hands dirty every day. There was no complaining, even during reduced manpower. They had to just flex hours and continue with mission support. We are just so immensely proud.”

The 80th OSS is a multinational squadron made up of five flights, 192 permanent party, 356 student pilot personnel, and represents 14 NATO nations. Additionally, they provide direct mission support to the 82nd Training Wing – all while in concert with managing one of the Air Force’s busiest joint-use airfields, AETCs busiest radar approach control, flight scheduling, weather, student training, aircrew flight equipment and aerospace physiology, aviation and airspace management, and computer and administrative support.