April 7, 2014 (by TSgt. Jim Brock) - The Air Force Reserve's 910th Airlift Wing held a deactivation ceremony for the 773rd Airlift Squadron on, April 6, 2014.
Past and present members of the 773rd AS pose in front of a C-130 Hercules aircraft on April 6, 2014 following the unit’s deactivation ceremony. The squadron, which was activated as a unit of the 910th AW in 1995, was officially deactivated on March 31. [USAF photo by TSgt. Rick Lisum]
The 773rd Airlift Squadron, which was activated as a unit of the 910th in 1995, was officially deactivated on March 31, 2014 by Special Order GB-0005, issued by the Secretary of the Air Force. The deactivation resulted from Air Force structure changes, which reduced the 910th's C-130 aircraft fleet to eight Primary Assigned Aircraft and one Back-up Inventory Aircraft.
During Sunday's ceremony, in accordance with Air Force tradition, the unit's flag, or guidon, was rolled up and cased. In addition to Wing leadership and members, Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio's 13th district and representatives from Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman attended.
"This squadron has been, since World War II, in the middle of making our military the strongest and best in the world," said Ryan. "(And) just because this squadron (the 773rd) will be inactive, doesn't mean that we are not going to try to increase the mission capability and readiness right here in Youngstown, Ohio."
Nicknamed The Quiet Professionals, members of the 773rd have deployed to locations around the world supporting various contingency and humanitarian operations. Since 2001, members of the squadron have mobilized several times in support of the Global War on Terrorism. These Citizen Airmen operated out of bases in Southwest Asia including isolated airfields in Iraq and Afghanistan to provide airlift and airdrop capability of much needed equipment and personnel. Just prior to the squadron's deactivation, the unit commander reflected on the performance of the Citizen Airmen of the 773rd Airlift Squadron.
"From its beginning, our squadron helped make our nation stronger," said Lt. Col. John A. Boccieri, 773rd Airlift Squadron Commander. "The dedication, commitment and sacrifice that made our success possible is owed to some of the finest Airmen in the country, who serve our nation only because they were asked."
Col. William Phillips, 910th Operations Group Commander, related this transition to his own experience with the closing of Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove, Pa.
"My base was closed, and for the people in this Squadron, it's kind of the same feeling, but at least they're not leaving the base," said Phillips. "The biggest part of my job is the people. We're going to retain all the Operations Group people. They will be moving to the 757th (Airlift Squadron), doing the same job(s), just wearing a different patch."