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Wing moves to Florida, begins new chapter
Col. Gary E. Beebe renders a final salute to the men and women of the 927th Air Refueling Wing at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., April 27, 2008, after relinquishing command of the unit to Col. Kenneth D. Lewis, Jr.
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Wing moves, begins new chapter

Posted 4/29/2008   Updated 4/29/2008 Email story   Print story


by Thomas Schmidt
927th Air Refueling Wing

4/29/2008 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Airmen searching for new 'Reserve' homes, choosing retirement or assignment to Air Force Reserve Personnel Center and some making the decision to become Florida residents took on a feverish pace as the day of change, the day of the inevitable ceremony subtly arrived. 

Col. Gary E. Beebe, 927th Air Refueling Wing commander, passed the reins of command to newly selected commander, Col. Kenneth D. Lewis Jr., during a change of command ceremony held April 27, 2008 at MacDill AFB. Colonel Lewis most recently served as operations group commander with 349th Air Mobility Wing based at Travis AFB, Calif. 

"You, the citizen Airman of today, are more highly tasked than any in our history, but you are also the most professional and well trained. Make the most of your relationships with your new partners. Use your experience to mentor and teach these great young Airman how to live our core values as we fight and win our nation's wars," said Colonel Beebe as he addressed the troops before relinquishing command. "Cling to our core values and decide today that you will not compromise them even in the face of adversity. You are all warrior leaders. Take that very seriously, but learn one thing better than anything else: learn to lead with humility. Learn to always say hello, please, thank you, can I help you and, most importantly, to say 'I'm sorry.' We all blow it sometimes. Admit your mistakes and move in the right direction. It will empower your leadership." 

The wing is now partnered with 6th Air Mobility Wing in its new surroundings on the shore of Tampa Bay. By sharing equipment, the wing will be able to train more people and make better use of its assets. A seamless partnership will have Reservists, active duty personnel and civilian employees working side-by-side every day to accomplish the wing's mission. 

With the assignment of 145 air reserve technician, 465 traditional reserve and 22 civilian employee positions, the air mobility wing gained an additional four KC-135 R-model aircraft, bumping up the total number of tankers to sixteen to be flown by combined active duty and Reserve aircrews. Aircraft formerly managed by the 927th ARW have gone to the Michigan Air National Guard. 

"We are going to build the premier KC-135 associate wing," said Colonel Lewis. "When I ask you to integrate with active duty everywhere, it makes sense to do so. Or, when I tell our Airmen (they) need to conceive, devise and implement better ways of utilizing resources in order to maximize our efficiency and productivity, it is because the better we do our jobs as individuals and collectively, as a wing, the more we contribute to the destruction of our enemies." 

Despite these changes, "morale remains high and the remaining people realize there is a big job to be done," said wing officials. 

Lineage of the 927ARW dates to Jan. 15, 1963 when it was activated as 927th Troop Carrier Group and organized into the Air Force Reserve Feb. 11, 1963. One of the wing's components, the 63rd Air Refueling Squadron, traces its roots back to World War II. During 1942, the 63rd Troop Carrier Squadron was constituted and deployed with C-47 aircraft to the Pacific Theatre delivering airborne troops, providing air re-supply of forces and aerial logistic support. 

The 927TCG was re-designated 927th Tactical Airlift Group in 1967 and flew C-119 aircraft until 1969. Being re-designated as 927th Tactical Air Support Group on June, 18, 1969 the unit flew U-3 aircraft until 1971 after which the unit became known as the 927th Tactical Airlift Group and flew C-130 aircraft. During 1992, the unit converted to KC-135 Stratotankers and became 927th Air Refueling Wing in Oct. 1994. 

Colonel Beebe will remain at Selfridge as he commands 4th Air Force Detachment 2 to close out Reserve business in 2009 before retiring to end a 34 year Air Force career.

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