WARNER ROBINS -- After nine years as a joint organization, the 116th Air Control Wing split Friday to form the Air National Guard 116th Air Control Wing and the active duty 461st Air Control Wing.
The blended 116th, made up of Air National Guard and active duty troops, formed under a Total Force Initiative in 2002 at the direction of the Secretary of the Air Force. It melded the 116th Air National Guard Bomb Wing and the active duty 93rd Air Control Wing and operated the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System unit, better known as J-STARS.
However, updated Air Force regulations did not cover the blended unit, leading to issues of how promotions, disciplinary actions and other administrative issues were handled, according to the Air Force.
Col. Jeffrey Buffalo Herd relinquished command of the 116th to Col. William Welsh, who was promoted to brigadier general after the change of command ceremony officiated by Maj. Gen. Stephen Hoog at the Museum of Aviation.
This is an historic occasion, Welsh said. Nine years ago to the day we went from two wings to one, and now today we go from one wing to two. Even though were going from one wing to two, were still one team -- Team J-STARS -- and its going to take Team J-STARS to get us to the next level, to continue the successes that weve enjoyed and to continue to provide J-STARS support around the globe as weve been doing over the past years.
Col. L. Dean Worley Jr. will assume command of the 461st, and the operations and maintenance groups will be commanded by Col. Troy Stone and Col. David Foote, respectively.
Although changes of command are always bittersweet, in our business, change is one of the few things that come with absolute certainty, Hoog said. With these changes, however, there comes an exciting opportunity.
Information from the Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Caryn Grant, call 256-9751.