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News > 766th AES deactivates, marks change for Afghanistan's JET Airmen
766th Inactivation Ceremony
Col. Lesa Toler, 466th Air Expeditionary Group commander, and Lt. Col. Jeffrey Collins, 766th Air Expeditionary Squadron commander, rolls the guidon as Lt. Col. Collins relinquishes command during the 766th AES inactivation ceremony at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, March 23, 2011. Colonel Collins will assume command of the 966th Air Expeditionary Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sheila deVera)
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766th AES deactivates, marks change for Afghanistan's JET Airmen

Posted 3/23/2011   Updated 3/23/2011 Email story   Print story


by Tech. Sgt. Michael Voss
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

3/23/2011 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Deputy Commander-Air, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. Charles Lyon, presided over the 966th Air Expeditionary Squadron's change of command, here, 23 March.

The ceremony marks more than a transfer of command from Lt. Col. Kenneth Bowling to Lt. Col. Jeffrey Collins. It indicates a change in how Airmen assigned to Joint Expeditionary Tasked and Individual Augmentee deployments in Afghanistan will be administratively and operationally handled.

Moments prior to accepting the 966th AES guidon, Colonel Collins relinquished command and deactivated the 766th AES.

The 766th AES formerly based at Sharana Forward Operating Base, Afghanistan, was responsible for Airmen serving at 58 forward operating bases and combat outpost throughout Regional Command - East.

"The JET Airmen are why we are here," said Colonel Bowling. "The 966th will consolidate ADCON and OPCON for all those Airmen throughout RC-East and North. It has been an honor serving this squadron."

The transfer of the 766th AES' responsibilities under the 966th AES based here, will make it the largest squadron within Bagram.

"The histories of these expeditionary squadrons are short but we will not let that history or our Airmen down," said 966th AES Commander, Colonel Collins. "I hope the 766th represents a legacy of taking care of Airmen, I know the 966th will continue to do the same."

As a white canvas cloth covered the 766th AES guidon, representing the deactivation, a major change occurred in how the pages of JET Airmen history will be written.

"Combining the Sharana and Bagram squadrons offers better efficiency for our squadron leadership as the tactical commanders for RC-East and North reside here at Bagram. It also provides increased freedom of movement for reaching our Airmen in RC-East as Bagram is a hub of both fixed and rotary wing aircraft," explained Col. Lesa Toler, 466th Air Expeditionary Group commander. "They will also have better visibility of our Airmen deploying throughout the battlespace and redeploying to home station."

Colonel Toler, who is responsible for more than 2,700 JET and IA Airmen working in over 153 separate locations in Afghanistan including the 966th and former 766th AES, went on to express gratitude to the two commanders and express high expectations for the new unit.

"Thank you and Godspeed Colonel Bowling. You are leaving the 966th in capable hands," she said. "We are making history today."

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