Lineage of the 95th ABW dates back to World War II and its heritage is rich with the tradition of excellence. It is a tradition that proudly continued at Edwards.
As the host wing of Edwards, under the leadership of 13 commanders, the “Mighty 95th” provided support for more than 12,000 active duty, reserve, civil service,
Marine, Army, NASA and defense contractors stationed at the U.S. Air Force’s second largest installation.
The wing was responsible for infrastructure, communications systems, security, medical services, fire protection, transportation, supply, finance, contracting, legal services, personnel and manpower support, housing, chapel and quality of life programs.
Presented with unique challenges, such as a remote location, Air Force restructuring, budget cuts and even a hiring freeze; the 95th ABW not only provided top-notch support ensuring that the Air Force Flight Test Center could deliver war winning capabilities in a timely and efficient manner, but made it a top priority to provide an excellent quality of life for Team Edwards by transforming the community into a Community of Excellence.
As a testament to the unit’s tradition of excellence and service, the Air Force has recognized the men and women of the 95th Air Base Wing for their outstanding contributions. The wing received Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards for 2010 and 2011, the latter of which was presented during Friday’s ceremony before transitioning to the 412th TW.
Beginning in 1994 with the activation of the 95th ABW, the Edwards community experienced numerous improvements to base resident’s quality of life.
“Looking back at the history, since the 95th Air Base Wing stood up, there have been tons of ribbon cuttings and ground breakings, buildings, and renovations – it has always been about taking care of the community and taking care of Edwards,” said Col. Amy V. Arwood, 95th ABW commander. “Everything from the new runway, to the new Base Operations building, to chapel renovations, to club renovations; not to mention all of the base housing has been done during the lifespan of the 95th.” Housing for Airmen and their families, which began as some of the oldest in the Air Force, was dramatically improved thanks to the housing replacement initiative. In total, the $100 million project built 291 houses. The housing area also welcomed new community areas complete with parks and playgrounds.
Military personnel and retirees continue benefitting from a remodeled Base Exchange, while Team Edwards personnel are able to enjoy several dining options. The remodeling of the BX provides the Edwards community with readily available shopping and dining options, an essential convenience due to the remote location of the installation.
More recently the Airman’s Campus was established to make valuable resources and quality of life programs available to young Airmen.
Whether Airmen need a healthy and affordable meal at the Joshua Tree Dining Facility, or want to work out at the gym, work on their car at the Auto Hobby Shop, make an arts and crafts project, participate in sports, take college classes, or enjoy the Higher Grounds CafÃ© – the campus ensures resources are readily available.
In addition to promoting a Community of Excellence, the 95th ABW ensured that the AFFTC had necessary resources and infrastructure to accomplish the mission, which is particularly true when the installation’s historic runway needed replacement. The 95th ABW ensured the Edwards mission was restored to full capacity with the successful runway replacement initiative, which concluded months ahead of schedule in 2008.
Whether supporting the critical test mission of the installation, improving quality of life for the Edwards community, ensuring medical care is top-notch, holding community events, or even maintaining schools, child care programs and teen centers, the 95th ABW ensured Edwards became a Community of Excellence and has built on the wing’s incredible legacy.
“It’s the ability to change, adapt and overcome. It’s being able to do all those things and be better than what you were before. Whether it’s an individual, a team or an entire wing, it is always amazing what you can accomplish,” said Arwood.
The legacy originally began as the 95th Bombardment Group, activated June 15, 1942, and entered combat for the first time in May of 1943 for the Eighth Air Force. The bombardment group received its first Distinguished Unit Citation for maintaining a tight defensive formation despite encountering an assault from enemy fighters when bombing an aircraft assembly plant in Germany Aug. 17, 1943.
Involvement in Berlin and Munster each earned the bombardment group another two Distinguished Unit Citations. The 95th Bombardment Group also participated in the invasion of Normandy in June of 1944.
The heritage of the Mighty 95th stems from a tradition of excellence, service and dedication. “Today’s 95th Air Base Wing is not only the Air Force descendent of that legacy of valor; we have proven to be every bit up to the call of duty to match it,” said Col. Gregory E. Schwab, 95th ABW former commander.
It is a tradition that will proudly continue with the transition to the 412th TW.
“It’s a different time, but we’re still reinventing ourselves to become something better. With the two teams combining and the power of the 412th Test Wing and 95th Air Base Wing, it is going to be amazing to see what’s next. It’s going to be pretty exciting,” said Arwood.