Defense

June 4, 2014

The End of an Era: 376th Air Expeditionary Wing inactivation ceremony

Tags:
Lt. Col. Max Despain
Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan

Honor Guard Airmen lower the United States and Kyrgyz Republic flags as part of the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing inactivation ceremony June 3, 2014, at transit center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan. Airmen assigned to the Transit Center during its tenure loaded and flew 42,000 airlift missions, hauling 1.4 billion pounds of cargo.

Airmen gathered in front of the headquarters building for an inactivation ceremony†June 3,†for the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing as part of the overall Transit Center at Manas closure.

In a sunset event, Col. John C. Millard, the 376th AEW commander, sheathed the wing colors in a black sleeve, symbolizing the organization’s inactive status while the Honorable Pamela L. Spratlen, the U.S. ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic, observed the occasion.

In her comments, Spratlen described the moment as “bittersweet,” complimenting the wing as “the absolute best of the United States military in your integrity, your commitment to the mission and your professionalism.”

The ambassador reminded the crowd, “We are part of something much larger,” and thanked the service members for their “extraordinary service.”

Millard share his pride in the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing’s role in closing the transit center, “You have made history as your spirit never faltered in the quest to accomplish the mission.”

After thanking the ambassador for her advocacy and the embassy’s hospitality, he returned to the unique accomplishments of his wing.

“You can forever be proud of the accomplishments you’ve made here … This is a first of a last. You are the first Air Force-led base closure in Operation Enduring Freedom … You are the first to mark a true end of an era.”

For the more than 12 years the American military has operated out of this location, serving as the premier transportation and logistics hub supporting operations in Afghanistan. The wing performed four critical missions to include air refueling, onward movement, airlift and humanitarian assistance.

In the course of its existence, the wing flew 33,000 air refueling missions, offloading more than 1.8 million pounds of fuel to136,000 coalition aircraft.

The onward movement mission meant the transit center supported more than 5.3 million coalition personnel either traveling to or departing from Afghanistan.

Airmen sheath squadron guidons as part of the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing inactivation ceremony June 3, 2014, at Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan. The wing’s roots date from the activation of the 376th Bombardment Group during World War II. The 376th AEW took the name “Liberandos” from the B-24 Liberator bombers it flew during this conflict.

Ninety-eight percent of all international security assistance and coalition forces going into and out of Afghanistan traveled through here.

At the same time the transit center supported 42,000 cargo missions, transporting 1.4 billion pounds of cargo.

The humanitarian assistance mission pillar only formally existed for four years, and those projects were conducted through the only Air Force Theater Security Cooperation division. They completed 37 humanitarian assistance projects at an investment of $4.7 million. There were more than 110 military-to-military exchanges and 188 social-cultural events, resulting in interaction with more than 7,000 people.

The 376th Air Expeditionary Wing’s roots date from the activation of the 376th Bombardment Group (Heavy) during World War II. The 376th AEW took the name “Liberandos” from the B-24 Liberator bombers it flew during this conflict.

The 376th earned its place in history leading the air raids against Nazi Germany’s oil fields in Ploesti, Romania in 1942.

Although their efforts left the refineries severely damaged, enemy fire brought down 74 B-24s, and of the 89 that made it home, only one-sixth of those planes ever flew again. Hundreds of Airmen were killed or captured.

Before the current activation, the Liberandos have been reactivated two times since World War II, once as a bomb wing that took on a refueling mission in the 1960’s, and again, in the 1970’s as a bomb wing that became a reconnaissance wing, operating in such diverse conflicts as Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm before inactivating in 1991.

Following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the wing was reactivated. It was designated the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing, standing up operations at the Manas International Airport, Kyrgyz Republic, on Dec. 21, 2001, where it has operated for more than 12 and a half years.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

President proclaims Memorial Day as ‘Day of Prayer’

President Barack Obama May 22 saluted the service and sacrifices of America’s military members–past and present–and proclaimed Memorial Day, May 25, 2015, “as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11 a.m. of that day as a time during which people may unite in prayer....
 
 

Air Force leaders’ Memorial Day message

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III send the following Memorial Day message to the Airmen of the Air Force and their families: To the Airmen of the United States Air Force and their Families: On Memorial Day, Americans pause in solemn remembrance...
 
 

Headlines May 22, 2015

News: Second Marine killed in Hawaii Osprey crash identified - Marine Corps officials have identified the second Marine to die as a result of the May 17 MV-22B Osprey crash as Lance Cpl. Matthew J. Determan of Maricopa, Ariz.   Business: Israel defense exports plunge to seven-year low - Israeli defense sales last year plunged to their...
 

 

News Briefs May 22, 2015

Ukrainian officer hit with third charge in Russia A third charge has been filed against a Ukrainian military officer who has been behind bars in Moscow for nearly a year over the deaths of two Russian journalists in Ukraine. Nadezhda Savchenko, who worked as a spotter for Ukrainian troops fighting separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine,...
 
 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Smart-mortar will help Soldiers more effectively hit targets

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez Nick Baldwin and Evan Young, researchers with the Armament Research Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, Pennsylvania, discuss the 120mm Guided Enhanced Fragmentation Mortar ...
 
 

Air Force assigns new chief scientist

The Air Force announced the service’s new chief scientist to serve as a science and technology adviser to the secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the Air Force, May 21. Dr. Greg Zacharias will be the 35th chief scientist and is ready to “dive in” to his new role. “I...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>