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Stellar Maintainers: Air Force Special Operations Command’s 1st Special Operations Maintenance Group at Hurlburt Field, Fla., received the Phoenix Award, the Department of Defense’s highest field-level maintenance honor during a ceremony Oct. 29 in Denver. According to a DOD release from Oct. 31, the group earned the award for "truly superior aircraft maintenance." In fact, among their feats, the group members supported the generation of 3,200 combat sorties that flew nearly 14,000 hours over hostile territory. And, challenged with a $336 million modification program and the beddown of two new weapon systems at home, they were still able to generate 4,200 training sorties that produced more than 3,100 combat-ready aircrews needed for Air Force and joint missions, DOD said. Among the other units that DOD recognized was the 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Aviano AB, Italy, the Air Force said in a separate release yesterday.