Team JSTARS reorganizes for new era

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Roger Parsons
  • 116th ACW
Past and present 116th Air Control Wing members, dignitaries, family and friends filled the Museum of Aviation's Century of Flight Hangar Sept. 30 for a ceremony making the 116th Air Control Wing an active associate Air National Guard wing and activating the active duty 461st Air Control Wing.

During the ceremonies, officiated by Maj. Gen. Stephen L. Hoog, 9th Air Force commander, Col. Jeffrey A. Herd relinquished command of the 116th to Col. William Welsh. Col. L. Dean Worley Jr., assumed command of the newly activated 461st ACW followed by the standup of the 461st Operations Group, commanded by Col. Troy Stone and the 461st Maintenance Group commanded by Col. David E. Foote.

Hoog noted the 116th was the first blended wing and praised the unit for its many accomplishments.

"You have a proud tradition of combat excellence and a warrior's ethos and spirit that is personified by all of you each and every day," said Hoog.

In 2002, the active duty 93rd Air Control Wing blended with the Georgia Air National Guard 116th Bomb Wing to form the 116th Air Control Wing.

For nine years, the 116th worked effectively as a blended organization of active duty and Air National Guardsmen to successfully accomplish the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System mission. The wing has flown more than 70,000 combat hours supporting the war on terrorism during that time.

Welsh - promoted to brigadier general in a ceremony following the change of command - has seen many changes since coming to the wing in 1996 as a weapons system officer.

"This is an historic occasion," Welsh said. "Nine years ago to the day we went from two wings to one, and today we go from one wing to two ... we're still one team, Team JSTARS. And, it's going to take Team JSTARS to get us to the next level, to continue the successes that we've enjoyed and to continue providing JSTARS support around the globe."

Col. Worley, drawing inspiration from the original 461st Bomb Group's World War II motto, "On The Attack," encouraged the members of Team JSTARS to go on the attack and work together to build an even better JSTARS team today.