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BRAC changes on horizon for NC Refueling Wing.

An air refueling squadron formerly based at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., will make history next year when it becomes an active associate unit with the 916th Air Refueling Wing at Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.

The association will mark the first time a regular Air Force unit, the 911th Air Refueling Squadron Red Eagles, has partnered with an Air Force Reserve Command air refueling wing that owns KC-135 aircraft.

"This is the first tanker active associate unit in the Reserve Command, so we are going to ensure it's done right," said Col. Fritz Linsenmeyer, 916th ARW commander. "It's a great package that includes the necessary maintenance, support and ops pieces to ensure we and the active-duty forces can work side by side."

The association will come about as a result of recent base realignment and closure actions, which caused the inactivation of the 911th ARS in June 2007. An advance team of 19 people from the 911th traveled to North Carolina in October to help prepare for the transition.

"While significant numbers will arrive in February and March 2008, the majority of the new personnel will not arrive here until the summer of 2008," said Lt. Col. Eric A. Jorgensen, chief of 916th ARW plans.

The 911th ARS will officially reactivate at Seymour Johnson in April 2008, Colonel Jorgensen said.

Eight new KC-135R Stratotankers and the rest of the 911th ARS people are scheduled to be in place by September 2008.

The arrival of the aircraft will double the 916th's fleet to 16, but parking space won't be a problem, Colonel Jorgensen said.

"We already have space for all of the aircraft," he said. "What we don't have is office and back-shop space for the 260 additional active-component personnel who will be arriving here to form the 911th. To make room for them, we're beginning a $26 million construction project."

The colonel said the 911th hopes to break ground on the project this month.

The transition may be new to the current staff, but the 911th's move to Seymour Johnson represents a homecoming of sorts for the unit. The squadron was originally formed at the base as the 911th ARS, Heavy, in 1958. It was part of the 4241st Strategic Wing, flying tankers as well as B-52 bombers.

After some reassignments in the early 1960s and supporting global operations throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, the 911th ARS returned to Seymour Johnson in 1991. Colonel Linsenmeyer flew KC-10s with the 911th for three years when the squadron was part of Seymour Johnson's 4th Operations Group.

"It is exciting to have the 911th Red Eagles back at Seymour Johnson." Colonel Linsenmeyer said. "We are all anxiously awaiting the arrival of the leadership and initial cadre later this year and then to having the main body in place by the summer of 2008." (Senior Airman Brandon Rizzo, 916th ARW public affairs)
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Title Annotation:Round the Reserve
Publication:Citizen Airman
Date:Dec 1, 2007
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