Tuesday, July 15, 2014

TOP STORY >> Reserve unit is soaring to new heights

Leader staff writer

The Air Force Reserve Command’s 913th Airlift Group was activated at Little Rock Air Force Base with the presentation of the unit’s new guidon during a ceremony on Sunday.

Sitting outside the hangar was a C-130 with the 913th Tail Flash as each of 913th units’ guidons were unfurled.

The 913th AG takes the place of the 22nd Air Force, Detachment 1, which was activated in March 2011 with two people. It has since grown to more than 500 reservists and is authorized to grow to more than 800 people. The group has an annual budget of $20 million.

Maj. Gen. Mark A. Kyle, commander of 22nd Air Force, presented the unit’s new guidon to Col. Edsel A. (Archie) Frye Jr., the group’s commander, who organized the unit from its beginning.

Frye said the activation gives the 913th airmen a tremendous sense of pride.

“It is the equivalent of an American gaining their citizenship for over the past three and half years,” Frye said.

Frye said the activation gives the 913th an identity in the mission of combat tactical airlift. It helps with recruiting. It gives a sense of permanence and credibility.

“It allows us to build a legacy. When people see our patch, they’ll say that’s a great unit,” Frye said.

The 913th has 10 C-130 H-models and will increase to 12. The 913th shares aircraft and facilities with the 50th Airlift Squadron of the 19th Airlift Wing to use their resources more efficiently.

The planes assigned to the new group increases the number of C-130s at Little Rock to 95, with 41 of them C-130Js and about 50 more the older C-130H models.

Frye explained the 913th patch. The falcon swiftly moves when called. The globe is the scale of reach being anywhere with C-130s. The “Omnes Prosperant” motto means “everyone prospers.” If the airmen work hard to succeed, leadership will be a mentor and offer a roadmap to success, he said.

Most of the 913th civilian airmen serve parttime and work locally. They have drill one weekend a month and two weeks each year.

The 913th consists of a headquarters unit, the 327th Airlift Squadron, the 913th Operation Support Squadron, the 913th Maintenance Squadron, the 96th Aerial Port Squadron, the 913th Force Support Flight and the 913th Aerospace Medical Squadron.

Approximately 28 percent of the Reservists work fulltime as Air Reserve technicians and civil servants, while the rest are traditional Reservists.

Their slogan is “Stationed locally — serving globally.”
Some make $70,000 a year.

Frye previously commanded the 931st Air Refueling Group at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kan.

The unit’s new designation is a reactivation of the 913th, a Reserve unit of the 22nd Air Force that was deactivated in September 2007 at its home station of Willow Grove, Penn.

The 913th has its own headquarters on base and has worked alongside the 314th Airlift Wing and 189th Airlift Wing for nearly three years as part of the formal training unit mission at Little Rock Air Force Base.

The unit began transitioning to a combat mission last October and is integrated with the 19th Airlift Wing’s 50th Airlift Squadron and their aircraft maintenance unit.