The 492nd Attack Squadron was recognized during an activation and assumption of command ceremony, May 10, 2019, on March Air Reserve Base, Calif.
During the ceremony, Col. Jeffery Patton, 49th Operations Group commander, awarded command of the 492nd ATKS, also called the “Fightin’ Bees,” to Lt. Col. Trevor Laribee.
“I think that squadron command is the best job in the Air Force,” said Patton. “You have the opportunity to impact Airmen and their families at the individual level. You get to announce quarterly awards, promotion results and work assignments. More importantly, you get to develop your Airmen and set the culture of your unit.”
Laribee announced to the crowd that he is excited and more than ready to lead the squadron and strengthen the MQ-9 Reaper mission.
“We have maintenance, base operations support, medical and MQ-9 aircrew specialties on the same team,” said Laribee. “This diversity will help us meld the best operational and cultural practices across the total force teams.”
One of the ways Laribee intends to support the mission is by enabling the 163rd Attack Wing to graduate 72 or more MQ-9 crews per year.
Although the ceremony signified the start of the Fightin Bees’ mission at March ARB, the squadron is already backed by a rich heritage.
The 492nd was originally organized as the 80th Aero Squadron on Aug. 15, 1917, on Kelley Field, Texas.
The unit was re-designated as the 492nd Aero Squadron in February of 1918 when the squadron served overseas in World War I. At that time, the Fightin’ Bees were a construction unit in France and did not partake in any combat operations. After the war, the squadron returned home to Garden City, Long Island and was demobilized.
In 1924 the 492nd Bombardment Squadron was activated as a reserve squadron in Seattle, Washington, and in 1936 it consolidated with the old World War I aero squadron. In October 1942, the 492nd was activated for World War II. After three years of flying combat missions in the B-24 Liberator in the China, Burma and India theater, the squadron was transferred to Camp Kilmer, N.J., and deactivated.
The 492nd was reactivated at Fort Worth Field, Texas, a year later and flew B-29s from 1946 to 1948; B-36s from 1948 to 1958, and B-52s from 1958 to 1963, at Columbus AFB, Miss., for Strategic Air Command. The squadron lay dormant for nearly 60 years, until April 15, 2019, when the Fightin’ Bees were officially re-activated and designated the 492nd Attack Squadron at March ARB.
Laribee hopes to honor the squadron’s heritage while moving it into the future.
“The Fightin’ Bees champion airpower as a lifting force in our total force-done-right team,” said Laribee. “We safeguard our homeland and our brothers and sisters in arms.”