WARNER ROBINS -- For almost a decade the 116th Air Control Wing has operated as a unique blended unit of Air National Guard and active-duty troops, but that will officially come to an end Friday.
In completion of a move announced 10 months ago, a ceremony at the Museum of Aviation will mark both a change of command for the 116th and creation of the 461st Air Control Wing. The 461st will be the active-duty wing, and the 116th will be the Air National Guard wing, said 116th spokeswoman Judy Smith.
Col. Jeffrey “Buffalo” Herd will relinquish command of the 116th to Col. William Welsh. The 461st will then be activated, and Herd will assume command.
The change is primarily for administrative reasons, according to the Air Force. Updated Air Force regulations did not cover a blended unit, and it led to issues of how promotions, disciplinary actions and other administrative issues were handled, according to the Air Force.
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The breakup was announced last November. Smith said it wasn’t done sooner because of memorandums of understanding that had to be approved at different levels of command.
“All of that takes time, but also we were working just fine as we were, so it was not a priority,” she said.
The 116th operates the vital Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, better known as JSTARS. The aircraft are heavily used in combat operations, flying overhead and providing an array of information to commanders on the ground. The 116th was a one-of-a-kind unit when it was formed in 2002 by melding the 116th Air National Guard Bomb Wing and the active-duty 93rd Air Control Wing.
The ceremony will be held starting at 1 p.m. in the Century of Flight Hangar.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.