JACKSONVILLE — Sunday morning in an aircraft hangar, cushioned between a large American flag and a 913th C-130 H model aircraft, airmen and related civilians witnessed a special ceremony that will lead to an increased presence of the Air Force Reserve at the Little Rock Air Force Base.
The hangar was filled with seated airmen and civilians flanked by several squadrons standing in formation, waiting for their new designation. The C-130 just outside the hangar had already been furnished with a new tail flash symbolizing the plane’s role in the unit waiting to be activated.
With an order from the Air Force Reserve Command, the sheathing of a guidon — a flag representing a unit and its commanding officer — and the presentation of a new guidon, the 22nd Air Force, Detachment 1 unit, was deactivated and replaced with the activation of the 913th Airlift Group.
The 22nd Air Force, Detachment 1 unit, was activated in March 2011 with two personnel. Since then, the unit has grown to more than 500. The unit, which is now the 913th Airlift Group, is authorized to expand to 850 personnel in fiscal year 2015.
Approximately 28 percent of the unit is made of full-time airmen. The rest is made up of traditional reservists who are civilians who drill one weekend each month and two full weeks at some point during the year.
The designation as a detachment unit is being left behind, and the unit will have its own identity as the 913th Airlift Group.
Col. Archie Frye Jr., commander of the unit, had one word to describe his reactions to the new designation: finally.
“We’ve labored through about 3 1/2 years of uncertainty, rumors and speculation,” Frye said. “We’re already proud, but we now have a symbol of what we’re proud of, and it’s on that tail [of the C-130 H model aircraft] right now, and it’s going to be on our patches.”
The new emblem for the 913th Airlift Group consists of three elements: an Air Force falcon, an arrow representing the force the unit delivers against aggression, and a globe symbolizing the global mission. The emblem also features a scroll with the Latin words “omnes prosperant,” meaning “everyone prospers.”
Maj. Gen. Mark A. Kyle, commander of the 22nd Air Force at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Georgia, activated the new unit and presented the unit’s new guidon to Frye.
“This unit, I tell you today, is the least of my worries,” Kyle said. “Your future is not unsure. You rock. … You show people how to do things. You do it correctly. You do it with pride. You do it with humility. You just get it done, and from my standpoint, I just want to thank you guys because you do not cause me any problems, and I love you for it. Congratulations on this important day and this next step to come.”
The 913th Airlift Group comprises a headquarters unit; the 327th Airlift Squadron, led by Lt. Col. Joseph Janik; the 913th Operations Support Squadron, led by Lt. Col. Timothy Ashley; the 913th Maintenance Squadron, led by Maj. Richard Rogers; the 96th Aerial Port Squadron, led by Maj. Jason Sheridan; the 913th Force Support Flight, led by Capt. Jonathan Stinson; and the 913th Aerospace Medical Squadron, led by Lt. Col. Vito Carabetta.
Staff writer Angela Spencer can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or email@example.com.