An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

451st EAMXS, 451st ELRS inactivate as forces draw down at KAF

  • Published
  • By Maj. Tony Wickman
  • 455th AEW/PA
The 451st Air Expeditionary Group recently inactivated two squadrons as part of ongoing efforts to transition from combat operations to a smaller force focused on a sovereign, stable Afghanistan. The 451st Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and 451st Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron cased their colors in separate ceremonies May 3, a historically significant date for the 451st AEG. “On this date in 2002, we established the 451st AEG to control the air over southern Afghanistan. Over the course of time, we expanded to become a wing and then last year back to being a group,” said Col. Rhude Cherry, 451st AEG commander during his remarks. “During that time, the numbers will show hundreds of thousands of sorties and flight hours flown in support of the warfighters, and hundreds of thousands of cargo and passengers moved into and out of Kandahar.” “The inactivation and consolidation of these squadrons is the natural transition from combat operations to that of a support role as the Afghans take responsibility for the safety and security of their country…the closing of one chapter and the start of another,” Cherry said. “For us, this is what winning looks like.” According to Lt. Col. Deedrick Reese, 451st EAMXS commander, the Battle Chargers and his children provided motivation for him during his deployment. “These Airmen and my children – Kendrick and Zhane – are where I get my pride and inspiration. Every day, all day our Airmen were committed to the mission to successfully provide armed over watch for our forces,” said Reese, who was deployed from Hurlburt Field Air Force Base, Florida. “For me, it’s all about the Airmen and how great of a job they’ve done here. I’m proud to serve with them; these Airmen are the best our nation has to offer.” Reese said the unit’s maintenance mission required a lot of teamwork to get the job done, and he leaves knowing that his Battle Chargers met the challenge and excelled. “This was the most amazing year of my Air Force career. These Airmen executed our mission and exemplified our Core Values while doing it,” said Reese. “While the patch will change, the mission and excellence will be the same.” According to Cherry, today’s 451st ELRS was closely tied to its origins in World War II. “The unit was stood up in 1943 for a specific purpose and stood down in 1945,” Cherry said. “The same is true today. The current 451st ELRS was stood up the same day the group was established in 2002, and now we stand it down after it accomplished its purpose.” Cherry said to understand the rhythm of combat operations, one must view it through the lens of logistics. “At its high mark, Kandahar was the busiest aerial port to move cargo and passengers into the Afghanistan theater of operations for the Air Force. For a time, it was the single busiest runway in the Air Force to move things in and out of here,” said the colonel. “During the height of the surge and then retrograde, Kandahar Airfield also became NATO’s busiest aerial port.” According to Maj. Robert Lee, 451st ELRS commander deployed from Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, the 451st ELRS Airmen demonstrated amazing skill and attitude as they came to work every day to get the job done. “These Airmen are amazing. I have nothing but praise for the Airmen and contractors who have done an outstanding job here moving cargo and people into and out of southern Afghanistan,” said Lee. “They are true heroes. They came in every day with smiles on their face and delivered as professional logisticians.” Lee said the squadron’s Airmen were vital to mission accomplishment. “It’s all about getting the planes in the air,” Lee said. “The planes don’t get in the air without the maintainers, but the maintainers don’t get the parts they need without the logistics readiness team.” For Cherry, he is proud of his Airmen who provide the only armed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability in theater, especially the maintainers and logistics readiness professionals. “I’m proud that these Airmen are willing to sacrifice by being away from their families and homes and come over here and do their service for our Air Force and coalition partners. They know why they are here, they do it well, and they do it with a smile on their face and professionalism that we expect of them,” said the colonel. “We’re highly sought after for what we bring to the fight, and we do it very well.” Cherry said the families and friends back home should be extremely proud of their Airmen, and how important they are to what the Air Force does here in Afghanistan. “I want all of the loved ones back home to know how valuable each of them is to what we do here. They are unsung heroes…they’re support allows us to be here and do what we do,” said Cherry. “And they should be proud of their Airmen for the duty they perform under difficult conditions.” The 451st EAMXS maintenance functions will be incorporated into the 62nd Reconnaissance Squadron, while the logistics function will be realigned under the 451st Expeditionary Support Squadron.