Officials elevated the range detachment in charge of Avon Park Air Force Range, Fla., to full squadron status, activating the 598th Range Squadron in a Sept. 22 ceremony there. The squadron designation “honors the memory of the WWII airmen that trained in this location” flying B-26s of the 598th Bomb Squadron, Commander Lt. Col. Kevin Beeker said in a release. “In many ways, our mission is unchanged from WWII: to give our troops the toughest possible training so that they are ready to face our nation’s enemies,” he added. The 598th RANS controls the 160,000-acre range adjacent to MacDill Air Force Base in central Florida, but reports to the 23rd Fighter Group at Moody AFB, Ga., according to the release.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.