689th Wing at Robins going away

wcrenshaw@macon.comJune 5, 2013 

Editor's note: This story has been changed to correct the name of the 689th Combat Communications Wing.

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE -- The 689th Combat Communications Wing at Robins is being inactivated, but it won’t have much impact on employment at the base.

The move comes as no surprise, since the Air Force announced last year the inactivation of one of the wing’s two units, the 3rd Combat Communications Group at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. The only other unit in the wing is the 5th Combat Communications Group at Robins, which will now be the Air Force’s sole provider of combat communications.

The inactivation will impact two civilians, who will both move to the 5th Combat Communications Group, and 33 airmen, according to a base release. The airmen will either be reassigned, separate or retire, if eligible.

“New technology that is smaller and requires less manpower to set up and operate combined with our ability to leverage enterprise capabilities is enabling the Air Force to provide a similar (combat communications) capability with significantly less personnel,” Col. Joseph Scherrer, the 689th commander, said in the release.

The wing was established in 2009 to put the two combat communications groups under one command, and it had only a small command staff. Both the wing and the 3rd Combat Communications Group will officially inactivate in September. On June 12, though, a ceremonial inactivation will be held for the wing at Robins.

While a deactivation is permanent, an inactivation leaves open the possibility that the units could start up again if the need arises.

The 5th Combat Communications Group will now directly report to Air Force Space Command’s 24th Air Force.

The group is one of the most heavily deployed at Robins. It is responsible for establishing and defending communications in combat zones. It also does humanitarian missions, such as efforts after the earthquake in Haiti.

The inactivation of the 3rd Combat Communications Group will mean the loss of about 700 positions at Tinker.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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