917th heritage continues as fighter group
By Tech. Sgt. Jeff Walston, 307th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 13, 2011
BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- When the 917th Wing was deactivated here Jan. 8, it did not signal the end of the 917th designation because the wing's 917th Operations Group was re-designated as the 917th Fighter Group.
In a ceremony presided over by Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr., commander of Air Force Reserve Command, the flag of the 917th Fighter Group was uncased, formally re-designating it as an A-10 Thunderbolt II unit.
Col. Eric Overturf, commander of the 442nd Fighter Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., accepted the new flag from General Stenner. The new fighter group is now part of the 442nd FW.
"I'm proud to be your commander," said Colonel Overturf to the Airmen of the 917th FG. "Make no mistake ... you can rest assured when the nation calls on the 917th for airpower, we'll answer the call, and we'll be ready."
The 917th Wing flag was furled and encased, thus signifying the end of the wing's mission and serving as a final symbol of closure for all those, past and present, who were a part of the wing.
The A-10 close-air-support aircraft previously assigned to the 917th WG will remain at Barksdale. The fighter group will be assigned to the 442nd Fighter Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., and will be gained by Air Combat Command, Langley AFB, Va.
"We're losing the A-10s to Whiteman, but they'll still be here. We will still support them, but we are focusing on the bombers," said Brig. Gen. John J. Mooney III, 307th Bomb Wing commander and former commander of the 917th Wing.
The 917th Wing started in 1963 at Barksdale as a troop carrier. General Stenner noted that its lineage has changed over the years, but the unit has never deactivated. He said members of the unit past and present can be proud of what they have achieved and will continue to achieve.