HomeNewsArticle Display

Happy Hooligans named JOSAC Squadron of the Year

Lt. Col. Rick Omang, a C-21 pilot assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Operations Group, conducts a pre-flight inspection prior to conducting combat operations over Southwest Asia July 26. The C-21 is a twin turbofan engine aircraft used for cargo and passenger airlift. Colonel Omang is deployed from the 177th Airlift Squadron, North Dakota Air National Guard. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Shawn Weismiller)

Lt. Col. Rick Omang, 178th Airlift Squadron commander, North Dakota Air National Guard, performs a preflight inspection before conducting combat operations July 26, 2009 while deployed in Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Shawn Weismiller/Released)

Maj. Jon R. Wutzke, 178th Fighter Squadron, pilots a North Dakota Air National Guard C-21 aircraft during take-off at Hector International Airport, Fargo, N.D.   (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. David H. Lipp) (Released)

Maj. Jon R. Wutzke, 178th Fighter Squadron, pilots a North Dakota Air National Guard C-21 aircraft during take-off at Hector International Airport, Fargo, N.D. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. David H. Lipp) (Released)

Fargo, N.D. -- A prominent Department of Defense award was recently bestowed on the North Dakota Air National Guard. The Happy Hooligans' 177th Airlift Squadron received the 2009 Joint Operational Support Airlift Center (JOSAC) Squadron of the Year award for the U.S. Air Force in the small aircraft category.

"This is a prestigious award and speaks volumes about the talents and abilities of the Happy Hooligans. These Airmen were the best in the world when they flew fighters, and now, after only a couple of years into their new mission of the C-21 Lear Jet, they have once again proven that they are the best in the nation," said N.D. Gov. John Hoeven.

JOSAC is the airlift branch of the U.S. Transportation Command, headquartered at Scott Air Force Base, Ill, that specializes in air transportation of senior defense officials within the continental U.S. Currently, 89 units support JOSAC, with the Happy Hooligans being one of them. Units are comprised of aircraft squadrons from all branches, to include the Marine Corps, Army, Navy and Air Force.

"The Happy Hooligans continue to excel in all their missions," said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, N.D. adjutant general. "The 119th Wing, through a multitude of aircraft, continues to demonstrate superior performance worthy of Department of Defense recognition. These Airmen ensure that the North Dakota National Guard leads the way in excellence for the entire nation."

After the Happy Hooligans ended their 60-year fighter mission in January 2007, they started the new mission of the C-21A Lear Jet. In 2008 they began supporting missions for JOSAC, providing airlift to dignitaries all over the U.S.

"JOSAC is a unique mission for us because our pilots get to interact with so many individuals on a daily basis. You can be sure that the Happy Hooligans and the great state of North Dakota are recognized by our customers," said Lt. Col. Rick Omang, 177th Airlift Squadron commander.

The Happy Hooligans have been in the lead since October 2009 for the number of missions they have flown for JOSAC. From October to February, they flew 997 hours, which is 141 hours more than any other unit in their category flying for JOSAC in the nation.

"Our customers often request us to fly for them because we keep our aircraft in excellent condition, we're well-trained at what we do, and we treat our passengers with the Midwest hospitality that the Happy Hooligans are known for," said Omang.

In a letter announcing the JOSAC Squadron of the Year award, Navy Capt. Peter R. Davenport, chief of JOSAC, stated, "The 177th Airlift Squadron's dedication and professionalism set the mark for all other C-21 units in the Department of Defense. We sincerely appreciate the superior effort of your Happy Hooligans, crews and support personnel alike, while performing the OSA (operational support airlift) mission."

The N.D. Air Guard has embraced the C-21 mission and made it their own. The Happy Hooligans made Air Force history by creating a military maintenance program for the C-21 aircraft at the 119th Wing. This was the first of its kind program for the entire Air Force since the maintenance of C-21s had previously been done by civilian contractors. Because of this program, N.D. Airmen were able to keep their maintenance jobs while waiting for the new C-27J Spartan aircraft mission that is expected to arrive in about 2012.

In addition, last summer the Happy Hooligans deployed several of their C-21 Lear Jets, to include pilots and maintenance personnel, to Qatar, which was another first for the 119th Wing. Never before had the Happy Hooligans deployed their aircraft into a theater of war. Within two months of being deployed, they won 'Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit of the Month' in June 2009.

The Happy Hooligans have been making a name for themselves from the start with the C-21 mission and they don't plan on stopping anytime soon, leaders say.

"Regardless of what we're flying, whether it's the current mission of the C-21 or our future mission of the C-27, we will do everything we can to ensure that we are the best at it. That's what being a Happy Hooligan is all about," said Omang. "It's still early, but we're already ahead for the most JOSAC flying hours for March. Hopefully we'll keep it up and take the lead for the sixth month in a row."

The JOSAC Squadron of the Year award will be formally presented at the N.D. National Guard Professional Development Workshop taking place at the Holiday Inn on Friday in the Great Hall at approximately 11 a.m.

Distinguished visitors expected to attend the award presentation include N.D. Gov. John Hoeven; Lt. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, director of the Air National Guard; Lt. Gen. Robert R. Allardice, 18th Air Force commander at Scott Air Force Base; Maj. Gen. Raymond W. Carpenter, acting director of the Army National Guard; Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, N.D. adjutant general; and Brig. Gen. Patrick Martin, N.D. deputy adjutant general.

For more information about this news release, please contact Penny Ripperger at 701-451-2194.

Media is invited to attend the ceremony presentation. C-21A Lear Jet b-roll and high-resolution photographs are also available upon request.

What: Happy Hooligans receive JOSAC Squadron of the Year award- official award to be presented during the N.D. National Guard Professional Development Workshop

Where: Fargo Holiday Inn, 3803 13th Ave S, Fargo

When: Friday, March 12 at approximately 11 a.m.
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.