|Wings Work on 'First of its Kind' Merger|
Wings Work on 'First of its Kind' Merger
By Senior Airman Monte Volk, 93rd Air Control Wing Public Affairs.
Robins Air Force Base, Georgia -- (AFPN) March 13, 2002 -- The 93rd Air Control Wing and 116th Bomb Wing here are tackling a new Air Force challenge: merging into a "Future Total Force" wing for the E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft, also known as the Joint STARS.
Future Total Force is an initiative to integrate reservists and guardsmen with the active-duty force.
The first-of-its-kind FTF here will blend active-duty and Air National Guard airmen into one wing.
The FTF challenge was presented last fall when Secretary of the Air Force Dr. James Roche sent a letter to Georgia's congressional delegation. The letter said the Air National Guard's 116th Bomb Wing will become the 116th Air Control Wing this year, and this new wing "will include a large active-duty associate presence in order to meet the expected high operations and personnel tempo."
The 93rd ACW is projected to join and become the 116th ACW by 2004.
"The FTF concept is a brand-new one for most of us down here in the trenches, but it is actually an idea the Air Force has been studying for some time," said Col. Dave Fadok, 93rd ACW commander.
The 93rd ACW and the 116th BW are committed to working together to overcome any obstacles in their path in order to set, in the words of Roche, "a new and higher standard for a Future Total Force organization."
"I can assure you our ongoing effort with the Guard to build a roadmap is not a 'zero sum' game in which our loss is their gain, or vice versa," Fadok said. "Terms like 'us' and 'them' are no longer appropriate as we evolve into a true total force of (command, control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) warriors.
"'We' must develop a plan with one objective in mind: to increase both the combat effectiveness and organizational efficiency of the Joint STARS weapons system by exploiting the unique strengths of the active duty and Guard," he said.
The unique strengths of the merger are what the FTF will draw upon.
"The Guard's combat experience will bring a tremendous boost to our capabilities," said Lt. Col. Steven Drago, the 93rd's FTF transition team chief. "Drawing on Guard members already living here, who know the area, who will eventually know the weapons system and who will remain here, will make contributions for the long term and maintain the continuity. It makes sense."
The first of three phases is in progress. Maintenance training is under way and operations training begins next month, said Lt. Col. Charlie King of the 116th BW. During the first phase, the 116th BW will undergo the most noticeable changes as flight crewmembers and maintainers are retrained and the bomb wing becomes an air control wing in October.
"First and foremost, we need to maintain combat capability," King said. "We've looked at it and determined that it is possible to train and maintain combat capability at the same time."
(Courtesy of Air Combat Command News Service)