Thursday, January 13, 2011

After deactivating the 917th Wing at Barksdale the A-10C mission will continue with the 917th Fighter Group

By Joachim Jacob

As announced already some weeks ago, on January 8, 2011, the 917th Wing at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, was deactivated. During the related ceremonies the 307th Bomb Wing (as a B-52 Stratofortress unit) was reactivated, and the 917th Operations Group was re-designated as the 917th Fighter Group - an A-10C unit.

Let me present the latest official news:

917th heritage continues as fighter group

by Tech. Sgt. Jeff Walston
307th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

1/13/2011 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- When the 917th Wing was deactivated here Jan. 8, it did not signal the end of the 917th designation because the wing's 917th Operations Group was re-designated as the 917th Fighter Group.

In a ceremony presided over by Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr., commander of Air Force Reserve Command, the flag of the 917th Fighter Group was uncased, formally re-designating it as an A-10 Thunderbolt II unit.

Col. Eric Overturf, commander of the 442nd Fighter Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., accepted the new flag from General Stenner. The new fighter group is now part of the 442nd FW.

"I'm proud to be your commander," said Colonel Overturf to the Airmen of the 917th FG. "Make no mistake ... you can rest assured when the nation calls on the 917th for airpower, we'll answer the call, and we'll be ready."

The 917th Wing flag was furled and encased, thus signifying the end of the wing's mission and serving as a final symbol of closure for all those, past and present, who were a part of the wing.

The A-10 close-air-support aircraft previously assigned to the 917th WG will remain at Barksdale. The fighter group will be assigned to the 442nd Fighter Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., and will be gained by Air Combat Command, Langley AFB, Va.

"We're losing the A-10s to Whiteman, but they'll still be here. We will still support them, but we are focusing on the bombers," said Brig. Gen. John J. Mooney III, 307th Bomb Wing commander and former commander of the 917th Wing.

The 917th Wing started in 1963 at Barksdale as a troop carrier. General Stenner noted that its lineage has changed over the years, but the unit has never deactivated. He said members of the unit past and present can be proud of what they have achieved and will continue to achieve.


307th Bomb Wing reactivates at Barksdale

by Tech. Sgt. Jeff Walston
307th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

1/12/2011 - Barksdale AFB, La. -- A crowd of more than 900 witnessed Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr., commander of Air Force Reserve Command, preside over ceremonies deactivating the 917th Wing, re-designating the 917th Operations Group as the 917th Fighter Group and reactivating of the 307th Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, Jan. 8, 2011.

Brig. Gen. John J. Mooney III, commander, 307th Bomb Wing, accepted the wing's colors from the presiding officer and in doing so accepted the charge of leading the members of his command and upholding the unit's honor and traditions, as well as the mission of the new Air Force Reserve wing.

General Mooney said he was thankful for the opportunity he has been given to lead the AFRC and 10th Air Force in strengthening the nuclear enterprise of this great nation.

"The 307th Bomb Wing is first and foremost a combat wing with a sole focus on strategic nuclear deterrence and global strike. We will embrace 'Deter and Assure.' At our heart will be a culture of rigorous compliance and continued dedication to excellence," General Mooney said.

The new Air Force Reserve wing will also focus on B-52 aircrew training and the bombing mission.

The 307th Bomb Wing was activated as the 307th Bombardment Group (Heavy) in 1942. The unit was deactivated on Sept. 30, 1975, after the end of the Vietnam War.

The 307th BW will report to the Tenth Air Force, Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, Ft. Worth, Texas, and will be gained by the Air Force Global Strike Command. Headquarters Air Force at the Pentagon directed these new actions in support of AFGSC which is also located at Barksdale and will oversee Air Force nuclear weapons training and operations at the new unit.

Scattered through the audience at Hoban Hall for the reactivation ceremony were approximately 40 alumni of the 307th Bomb Wing from the Korean, Vietnam and Cold War eras. Most traveled many miles to witness the reactivation.

"I expected this would be my last great adventure," said Master Sgt. (Ret) Loren Longman, an 88 year-old veteran of the 307th, who traveled from Tampa, Fla., by car. "It was my honor to be a part of the reactivation."

To show the alumni how their heritage will be kept alive, they were escorted through the 307th BW headquarters building where historic artifacts and photos are prominently displayed throughout the hallways. Many of the veterans expressed their gratitude for the unexpected briefings at B-52 and A-10 displays after the ceremonies.

"Today we are in the company of patriots, hero's, members of the greatest generation ... the legacy of the 307th Bomb Wing is legendary, from Wake Island to Rabaul - YAP - TRUK - PALAU - BALIKAN - 5,800 SORTIES OVER KOREA AND ARC LIGHT SORTIES DURING VIETNAM. We are honored to have been chosen to continue this great heritage," said General Mooney.

As General Mooney concluded his remarks, he looked out into the audience and spoke to the men and women of the 917th FG and 307th BW.

"In you, I see the highly disciplined and elite team of citizen Airmen who are undertaking this mission, fully understanding the special trust and responsibility placed on us by our nation for the most powerful weapons in its arsenal. Thank you for your commitment and service. I know you will make the two organizations that stood up here today the finest in the AFRC and the U.S. Air Force ... Thank you."

Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr., commander of the Air Force Reserve Command, presents the 307th Bomb Wing flag to Brig. Gen. John J. Mooney III, during reactivation ceremonies at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Jan. 8, 2011. During the same ceremonies, the 917th Operations Group was re-designated as the 917th Fighter Group and the 917th Wing was deactivated. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Travis Robertson) Hi-res


The Shreveport Times reported:

Wings shift at Barksdale Air Force Base

By John Andrew Prime • • January 9, 2011

A week of historic changes at Barksdale Air Force Base ended Saturday with formalities.

On Jan. 1, the 917th Wing deactivated after 47 years as the Reserve component on the base, and the 307th Bomb Wing stood up in its place. The names and numbers changed then on the base's gates and atop Hoban Hall, but it was inside that hall Saturday where the formalities that mattered took place in front of an honor section of 307th veterans and today's men and women who make up the unit.

"It has been a week to remember here at Shreveport-Barksdale Air Force Base, has it not?" said Air Force Reserve chief Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr., who spoke without notes or a teleprompter for 12 minutes before a crowd that included leadership of Air Force Global Strike Command, 2nd Bomb Wing and local communities, as well as representatives of 8th Air Force and U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu's office.
The flag-furling and unfurling ceremonies marked the final separation of powers and assets on units at the base as part of the Air Force focusing its attention on its nuclear mission.

With the changes formalized Saturday, the bombers that had been under the 917th Wing now work with the 307th as part of the reinvigorated nuclear enterprise spearheaded by Global Strike Command. The A-10 fighters of the 917th Wing now will fly under the 917th Fighter Group here, but under the command of the 442nd Fighter Wing of Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.

"Those are not just numbers," said Col. Eric S. Overturf, the 442nd's commander. "Those units, the history that we see here, that legacy of valor, is what gives us something to work for in the Air Force today."

It streamlines operations, he said. "All of the A-10s in the Air Force Reserve Command are going to be brought together in one unit. All will come under a single command."

In addition to the revised lines of command, the mission of the tough, speedy fighters here also will change, he said.

"For those of you out there in BDUs, you'll be going into combat, there's no doubt in my mind."

Brig. Gen. John J. Mooney III, who in the one ceremony relinquished command of the 917th Wing as it deactivated and assumed command of the 307th Bomb Wing, noted that his new unit "is first and foremost a combat wing ... with a sole focus on strategic nuclear deterrence and global strike. At our heart will be a culture of rigorous compliance and continued dedication to excellence."

In addition, he said, "we will continue to partner with the 2nd Bomb Wing to provide first and foremost combat capability and secondly the very best trained and prepared bomber aircrews in the world."

Stenner noted the proud histories of the units involved, and noted their transition over the decades, as well as the Air Force Reserve, in response to changing threats and defense needs.

"We evolve. We make happen the things that need to happen," he said. "I believe that there is no better place that we could do this that right here at Barksdale."


Editorial: Further evidence that Barksdale means jobs

January 5, 2011

News this week out of Barksdale further emphasizes the important role the Air Force base plays in the nation's defense, in general, and in its nuclear mission, in particular.

Splitting off the 917th Wing's B-52 bomber components and putting them in the reactivated 307th Bomb Wing under the supervision of locally headquartered Global Strike Command further streamlines the command structure of the United States' nuclear defense program and brings to Barksdale an enlarged mission to train B-52 crews.

The move also is significant in that it marks the Air Force Reserve Command's first venture into the U.S. nuclear enterprise, Brig. Gen. John Mooney, commander of the 917th Wing, told The Times.

The restructuring also further underlines the fact that Barksdale means jobs, and local jobs at that. That's critical when the unemployment remains high — 7.3 percent in Shreveport-Bossier City Metropolitan Statistical Area and 9.8 percent nationally in November.

It's good news that the A-10 fighters and personnel of the historic 47th Fighter Squadron will physically remain at Barksdale — meaning no job loss — despite the fact that they will be part of the new 917th Fighter Group, which will fall under the command of the 442nd Fighter Wing in Missouri.

In fact, as a result of splitting the 917th Wing's B-52 bomber and A-10 fighter components — which occurred Saturday and will be publicly marked Saturday with the furling of one set of flags and the unfurling of another, Shreveport-Bossier City has gained about 20 jobs over the past few months and will see 65 to 70 more full-time positions in the near future.

Those numbers are not near the 950 to 1,000 jobs created by Global Strike Command, But the economic impact of the restructuring will be further enhanced by another 160 or so personnel who will serve a weekend a month here.

Under the 307th Bomb Wing, the 343rd Bomb Squadron has brought in the equivalent of about five crews plus a commander and support forces. The new associated 707th Maintenance Squadron will mean 230 new billets, including the 65 to 70 full-timers in need of housing, etc.

The remaining 160 or so weekend-only personnel also will need housing — at least temporary lodging in hotels and motels — and will bring associated spending. Some of those, in turn, could decide they could do their civilian jobs here just as easily and opt to move to the Shreveport-Bossier City area as well.

"It's a huge week for Team Barksdale," Mooney proclaimed. And for Shreveport-Bossier City, we might add.


The Bossier Press-Tribune reported:

Barksdale wing deactivates, reactivates

Tuesday, 04 January 2011 15:43 Press-Tribune Staff News - Military News

Bossier Press-Tribune

BARKSDALE AFB, La. - The 917th Wing at Barksdale officially deactivated, Jan. 1, and reactivated as the 307th Bomb Wing.

At the same time, the 917th Fighter Group activated and provide support to the 47th Fighter Squadron.

The official ceremony will be held on Jan. 8 at 2 p.m., Hoban Hall, Barksdale AFB, La.

The 917th Wing was originally formed as the 917th Troop Carrier Group on Jan 17, 1963, at Barksdale, equipped with the C-124 Globemaster II. In 1971, the unit changed from the C-124 to the A-37 Dragonfly, and then the A-10 Thunderbolt II, in 1983.

In 1993, the 917th Wing added the B-52 to their A-10s and became a dual aircraft Wing. As one of the largest Wing's in the Air Force Reserve Command, their mission was to equip, train and employ combat capable aircraft and aircrews in support of theater commanders' war plans.

The 307th Bomb Wing reactivation will bring a new mission to train B-52 aircrew to employ the B-52 in combat. The A-10s will remain at Barksdale, but fall under the 442nd Fighter Wing, 917th Fighter Group, Whiteman AFB, Mo.

Air Force Reserve Command's leadership decided to activate the 307th Bomb Wing for the B-52 mission areas, and re-designate the 917th Fighter Group to accomplish the A-10 support requirements.

"Due to the formal training unit in support of B-52 operations between AFRC's 917th Wing and Global Strike Command's 2nd Bomb Wing, there was a necessity to change the focus of the 917th from both bomber and fighter to bomber only," said Brig. Gen. John J. Mooney III, current 917th Wing commander and new 307th Bomb Wing commander. "The U.S. nuclear arsenal forms the ultimate backstop of our nation's strategic defense - deterring potential adversaries and reassuring allies. Activating the 307th will make a more effective and efficient organization that leverages the unique strengths of the bomber force at Barksdale as we form a more cohesive and effectivecombat wing."


Official 917th Wing background info (archived)

The 917th is a composite wing which operates both the A-10A Thunderbolt II and the B-52H Stratofortress. Located at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., the Wing employs approximately 1,600 Air Force Reserve personnel. The mission of the 47th Fighter Squadron is to train student pilots to fly the A-10. The primary mission of the 93rd Bomb Squadron is to conduct strategic heavy bombardment and maritime operations in the B-52.

The 917th Wing was originally formed as the 917th Troop Carrier Group on Jan. 17, 1963, at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and was assigned to the 435th Troop Carrier Wing. Its mission was to administer and support its assigned 78th Troop Carrier Squadron, which was equipped with C-124s.

On July 1, 1963, both the group and squadron were reassigned to the 442nd Troop Carrier Wing because their new gaining command, Military Air Transport Service, wanted all five Air Force Reserve C-124 Groups assigned to the same wing. The units were reassigned to the 512th Troop Carrier Wing on March 25, 1965.

Reflecting similar changes in the active force, the 917th was re-designated twice -- to the 917th Air Transport Group in 1965, and then to the 917th Military Airlift Group in 1966. The 917th Military Airlift Group was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for its exceptional safety record of more than 55,000 accident-free flying hours and global support missions.

As the A-37 Dragonfly conversion began on April 13, 1971, the group was reassigned to the 434th Special Operations Wing. On April 26, 1972, the unit was re-designated the 917th Special Operations Group, with Tactical Air Command as the gaining major air command.

As the hardware and missions changed, the unit was re-designated the 917th Tactical Fighter Group on October 1, 1973. The 78th Troop Carrier Squadron was subsequently deactivated and replaced by the 47th Tactical Fighter Squadron.

Assigned to the 434th Tactical Fighter Wing at Grissom Air Force Base, Ind., the 917th reached combat-ready status 45 days ahead of schedule and garnered honors as the first fighter group in the Air Force Reserve to achieve this distinction.

When the A-37B Dragonfly was eventually phased out, the group converted to the A-10 Thunderbolt II airframe. The 917 TFG assumed replacement-training responsibilities on October 1, 1983. This ultimately led to the creation of the 46th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, in addition to the 926th Tactical Fighter Group in New Orleans, La.

Due to Air Force restructuring in June 1992, Tactical Air Command was combined with Strategic Air Command to form Air Combat Command. The 917th Tactical Fighter Wing joined Air Combat Command and "Tactical" was dropped from its name.

On Oct. 1, 1993, the 917th Fighter Wing saw important changes once again. The 46th Fighter Training Squadron was deactivated when the active-duty Air Force took control of all fighter replacement training. On this same day, the 917th became the first unit in Air Force Reserve history to acquire a strategic mission: B-52s were added to the wing make-up and the 93rd Bomb Squadron was activated. Now a composite wing, the 917th dropped "Fighter" from its name and became the 917th Wing.

In December 1993, the wing deployed its aircraft, personnel and equipment to Aviano Air Base, Italy, to support the United Nations' no-fly rule over Bosnia-Herzegovina. Dubbed "Operation Deny Flight," the 917th returned to Aviano Air Base in August 1994 and again in May 1995 to uphold the U.N. ban on military flights in the Bosnia-Herzegovina airspace.

In November 1995, the 917th Wing was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, for exceptionally meritorious service during deployments to support Operation Deny Flight and successfully converting a fighter unit to the Reserve's first heavy bomber unit. Oct. 7, 1996, marked the return of pilot training to the 917th as the 47th Fighter Squadron became an A-10 replacement-training unit.

The Wing again received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award in December 1999, primarily for winning the Chief of Staff Team Excellence Award and Secretary of Defense Award for the Self-Inspection Tracking System. The award also noted the unit's sponsorship of the STARBASE program. Which creates interest in math, science, and technology by using an aviation theme. Also, that year the 917th Maintenance Squadron won the Maintenance Effectiveness Award.

In September 2000 the Wing again won the Chief of Staff Team Excellence Award for the Smart Pay Tracking System.

The 917th Wing hosts one other Reserve unit at Barksdale: Detachment 1, 307th Civil Engineering Squadron, RED HORSE (Rapid Engineering Deployable, Heavy Operational Repair Squadron, Engineer).

In September 2001, the 93rd Bomb Squadron received war-tasking orders and deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. At the same time security policemen, firefighters, maintenance personnel and various other personnel from the 917th Wing were also activated in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and NOBLE EAGLE.

In September 2002, the 93rd Bomb Squadron returned home from a forward operating area and activated reservists were demobilized. In March 2003, approximately 250 personnel from the 917th Wing mobilized again to support the war on terrorism through Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM. They deployed in support of Central, European, and Pacific Commands.

In August 2003, Wing personnel returned to Barksdale where they remain operation ready to support and defend. In December 2003 the Wing was again awarded the Outstanding Unit Award for their participation in the war against terrorism for the period 1 Oct 01 - 1 Aug 03.

In January 2005, the 917th Wing deployed six B-52 and approximately 300 personnel to Anderson AFB, Guam as part of a 60-day Air and Space Expeditionary Force rotation to demonstrate U.S. commitment to the Asian-Pacific region.

In 2006 under Base Realignment and Closure the 917 WG gained eight A-10 aircraft and a number of full-time and part-time positions.

In December 2007, the 917th Wing Command Post merged with the 2d Bomb Wing Command Post to become one integrated force, called the Barksdale Command Post as part of the total force concept.

In 2008, the 917th Civil Engineers Squadron became part of a test program for integrating active duty and reserve civil engineers to include the Readiness Flight called the ECS Test Program.

In December 2008, the 93rd Bomb Squadron won top honors at the five day Buff Smoke competition held at Barksdale. They won four out of the five top award; Best Squadron, Best Crew, Best Aircraft Maintenance Unit, and Best Crew Chief Awards.

(Current as of January 2009)

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