AL UDEID AIR BASE, QATAR --
On July 24 2015, Lt. Col Ronald Schochenmaier assumed command of the 22d Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, which is assigned to the U.S. Air Force Central Command here at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.
Col. James Dittus, 379th Expeditionary Operations Group commander, along with several other distinguished visitors were in attendance for this historical event.
“Today we are going to activate the 22d to give the CFACC more options. We’re going to specialize those functions,” said Dittus. “We are happy to have the great leadership of Lt. Col Schochenmaier to come out and lead this team, to start and grow into full operations capability for the area of responsibility.”
Schochenmaier is a KC-135R/T Stratotanker graduate from the Aircraft Commander Initial Qualification Course with a very in-depth knowledge of operations here at Al Udeid through multiple deployments over the years. He was also an aircraft commander with mobility operations as well as an instructor pilot for the KC-135R/T Stratotanker and the C-17A Globemaster III.
Looking at his training and experience, Dittus told Schochenmaier that he has confidence in his ability to take this squadron and lead it into the future.
“This is a constantly evolving war fight out here and it is a bigger air war,” said Dittus. “You are going to be a big part of making sure this base, CFACC, and CENTCOM commanders are successful in securing our national security.”
The 22d was first formed in 1939 primarily as a bomb squadron for World War II. The aircraft of choice was the B-18 Bolos which would become the B-17 Flying Fortress flying mission inside the Southwest Pacific, which deactivated in 1945. Later it was activated at March Air Force Base in 1950 with the KC-97. In 2002 it was inactivated as the 22d Air Refueling Squadron and is now re-designated as the 22d EARS supporting operations from Al Udeid Air Base.
"Today is very symbolic, not only for the 22nd and 340th but you got to keep in mind for our tanker forces as well. What this means...it reflects upon our air power and global capability bringing the fight to the enemy," said Schochenmaier. "I was recollecting this morning and I remembered that this fall, it'll be 14 years that the 135's have been flying out of Al Udeid."
Schochenmaier started his career in the Air Force as a Network Administrator in 1998. Today, he will be among the few who have taken command of a re-activated refueling squadron during a time of war.