Military Notebook: 116th Air Control Wing opens new maintenance facility

wcrenshaw@macon.comDecember 15, 2012 

The 116th Air Control Wing unveiled its new $5 million Avionics Maintenance Facility on Dec. 9.

The organization held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the building that will serve as the only maintenance center for avionics of the E-8C jet flown by the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, according to a release. The 116th ACW operates J-STARS in conjunction with the 461st Air Control Wing.

The 116th is an Air National Guard unit, and the 461st is an active-duty unit.

The facility will also serve as the primary repair center for Edwards Test Center B-1B avionics.

“The guardsmen who will work at the new facility have an average of 19 years of experience,” Maj. Robby Key, 116th Maintenance Squadron commander, said in the release. “This will bode well as we serve our internal customers and other stakeholders across the Air National Guard and Air Force.”

An advantage of the building is that it is close to the flight lines, the release stated, which improves efficiency by reducing the transit time from the aircraft to the repair center.

Colonel at Robins nominated for brigadier general

Col. Stephanie Gass, who serves in Air Force Reserve Command headquarters at Robins Air Force Base, has been nominated to the rank of brigadier general.

She currently serves at director of manpower, personnel and services. If the promotion is approved, she will remain in that position for the time being but could be designated for a new position later, said Chandra Brown, AFRC spokeswoman.

Robins ends Monday blues

Airmen at Robins Air Force Base won’t have the Monday blues anymore, at least when it comes to clothing.

Since 2008, airmen were required to wear their dress-blue uniforms on Monday.

However, new Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh gave major commands the option of dropping the policy. Air Force Materiel Command, the parent agency of Robins, agreed to drop the requirement.

Airmen can still wear their blue uniforms if they choose, according to a story in the Robins Rev Up.

The uniform issue has gone back and forth in recent years, according to a story in the Air Force Times. After becoming Air Force chief of staff in 2005, Gen. T. Michael Moseley ordered airmen to wear camouflage uniforms because he said they should “dress like they fight.”

His successor, Gen. Norton Schwartz, decreed that blue uniforms be worn on Monday to preserve the traditional identity of the Air Force. Most airmen have applauded dropping the Monday blues requirement, saying the utility uniforms are more functional and practical.

One commenter on the Air Force Times story called the decision “better than winning the Powerball.”

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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