Robins Air Force Base does more than maintain aircraft

wcrenshaw@macon.comOctober 6, 2013 

Most people who live in Middle Georgia know that Robins Air Force Base does aircraft maintenance, but it does much more than that.

While overhauling planes is the biggest part of the work done at Robins, it is home to many units unrelated to the overhaul mission. Called tenant units, they fall under separate chains of command.

Among the most recognized are the 461st Air Control Wing and 116th Air Control Wing. Together, the units fly and maintain the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System on the E-8 aircraft. The planes can be distinguished from others flown out of Robins in that they look similar to passenger jets. The E-8 is a modified Boeing 707-300 commercial airliner. The unit is one of the most heavily deployed at Robins, and provides an array of information to commanders on the ground in combat areas.

Another large tenant unit is the 5th Combat Communications Group, which is now the only unit of its kind in the Air Force. Commonly known as the 5th Mob, the group is also a heavily deployed unit.

Its mission is to set up and defend communications in combat areas, and 5th Mob troops are often the first to get to an area and the last to leave.

One of the newest tenant units at Robins is the only light attack helicopter squadron in the Marine Reserve. Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 773 arrived at Robins in 2010. It flies the AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter and the UH-1N Huey utility chopper.

The Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Center is another new tenant unit, and performs the same basic job as the commercial distribution centers seen in Middle Georgia, such as Kohl’s and Academy Sports. The unit ships a wide range of goods to military operations around the world.

Robins is also the home of Air Force Reserve Command.

Those units and others make up the kaleidoscope of missions that employ approximately 23,000 people at Robins, including military personnel. It is the largest single-site employer in Georgia.

Approximately 8,000 people work in the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, commanded by Brig. Gen. Cedric George. The complex is responsible for the base’s most visible mission, which is overhaul of the C-130, C-5 and C-17 cargo planes, as well at the F-15 fighter.

Col. Chris Hill is the commander of the 78th Air Base Wing, and Hill’s job is often compared to the mayor of a city. The wing provides support for all of the units at Robins, including the tenant units.

The base is estimated to have a $2.9 billion economic impact and a net payroll of $1.4 billion.

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