Monday’s release of the Defense Department’s fiscal 2015 budget request includes the inactivation of the 4th Combat Camera Squadron located at March Air Reserve Base. Reservists affected were notified this week.
“We have known for a few months now that this could be a reality,” said Maj. Karen Davis, 4 CTCS operations director. “We decided that it was the best course of action to be as open and honest with all members of the squadron about the possibility of being inactivated.
“Our commander, Lt. Col. (Beth) Horine, has been amazing. She has been super proactive in seeking out opportunities for our people,” said Davis. “She’s recently met with our sister-service combat camera leaders, our functional managers as well as the leadership here at March.”
Everyone is handling the news differently. This kind of thing can potentially tear an organization apart or bring it together on a new level. The 4 CTCS is known as a unique, proud and tight knit bunch, Davis said.
Focusing on solutions, options and the important work that needs to be done between now and the time they are inactivated is their focus now. Knowing what the future is rather than wondering allows people to move forward, said Horine.
“We are committed to taking care of our people but are not losing sight of the important work that still needs to be done,” said Horine. “We have several Joint/AFRC exercises that we are supporting and we are going to continue doing our very best on that front.”
Many, especially the younger Airmen, are looking at this as an opportunity–a clean slate to go pursue something completely different. The squadron’s leadership is taking on the task of helping pave the way and guide those Airmen toward Air Force jobs that need good people and will set them up to excel in their Air Force careers.
“Everyone here at March has been great,” Davis said. “We appreciate everyone’s care, concern and assistance as we move forward toward our squadron’s inactivation.”
In recent years the 4 CTCS has successfully mobilized twice to Afghanistan and twice to Combined Task Force – Horn of Africa. They have won multiple, individual and unit, major command-level awards and have provided world-class documentation support of joint exercises for multiple major commands.
“We are going out on a high note. No one can tell us we didn’t go above and beyond as model Citizen Airmen,” said Horine.
“What we bring to the Department of Defense and to U.S. Air Force Reserve will certainly be missed,” said Davis. “We’ll be back!”
The 4 CTCS has a lineage dating back to 1943, when six officers and 23 enlisted men were transferred from the First Motion Picture Unit and activated as the 4th Army Air Force Combat Camera Unit to capture motion and still pictures in combat zones. With the drawdown of WWII, the unit was inactivated in December 1945.
It wasn’t until March 1996 that the unit’s flag was unfurled, they were redesignated 4th Combat Camera Squadron and activated in the U.S. Air Force Reserve at March Field.