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NEWS | Jan. 7, 2010

Historic 633d ABW activation begins new era at Langley

By Airman 1st Class Jason J. Brown 633d Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The 9th Air Force activated the 633d Air Base Wing during a change-of-command ceremony Jan. 7 in the 71st Fighter Squadron, ushering in a new era in Langley's illustrious history.

The 633d ABW assumed host unit duties from the 1st Fighter Wing, which served in that capacity since 1975.

Maj. Gen. William Holland, 9th AF commander, officiated the activation ceremony for the 633d ABW with Col. Donald Kirkland taking command.

"Today we take a critical step toward Joint Base Langley-Eustis by standing-up the 633d ABW to see joint basing through," said General Holland. "It will be a unique challenge to lead the transition to the joint base construct, one that will maximize the efficiency of us and our sister service."

The air base wing, comprised of two groups, provides support for more than 9,000 military and civilian personnel from Langley's tenant units.

"Today begins the third incarnation of the 633d ABW," said Colonel Kirkland, "and what better place to add a new chapter to wing history than Langley AFB, with its rich history of military aviation."

The activation comes at the beginning of a year of change for Langley, with the congressionally directed Joint Base Langley-Eustis standing up later this month. At that time, the 633d ABW will provide installation support for all tenant units both here and at Fort Eustis in Newport News.

The wing is, and will remain, headquartered at Langley. Guidance for the activation of the air base wing comes from the secretary of defense and identifies the Air Force as the lead agency.

The activation of the 633d ABW is more than a name change -- it is a "great opportunity to combine Air Force and Army resources to operate as efficiently as possible," said Colonel Kirkland. "By consolidating base support to one agency with two points of service, we will realize significant cost savings over time."

Over the coming months, the bases' support functions will incrementally transition over to the Air Force, said Colonel Kirkland. By October, functions from base defense and engineering to food service and supplies will be the responsibility of the Air Force.

Colonel Kirkland said the changes will take time as Air Force and Army officials learn to adapt to the necessities of joint basing. However, he insisted that each installation will maintain its identity and culture, and that the missions will remain unchanged.

"The color of the uniform may change in certain jobs, but the service will be transparent," he said. "We are 'one team, one fight' and will learn from each other as we progress into joint basing."

The 13th Air Force initially established the wing as the 633d Combat Support Group at Pleiku Air Base, South Vietnam in March of 1966. Following deactivation in 1970, the wing reemerged as the 633d ABW in 1989 and served as the host unit at Andersen AFB, Guam until deactivation in October of 1994.

The 1st FW, which maintains its Operations and Maintenance groups at Langley, will continue its dedication to global air superiority under command of Col. Matt Molloy.