The Air Force’s first-ever association between a Reserve and Air National Guard unit is no more. The Guard’s 107th Airlift Wing and the Reserve’s 914th Airlift Wing joined forces as a result of the 2005 BRAC decision, jointly flying and maintaining 12 aircraft at Niagara Falls ARS, N.Y. “We figured it out and went through all those battles; now we’re pulling it apart,” said Col. John Higgins, 107th AW commander. Though Higgins said “in a perfect world” he would have liked to have maintained the association for a few more years, he acknowledged he was excited for the wing to take on its new mission flying remotely piloted aircraft. “In the long term, this change will benefit the 107th [AW],” said Higgins. “We are moving into a newer mission. The 107th [AW] has converted missions every five years, it seems, and the RPA mission will stick with us for awhile.” Although the partnership officially dissolved on Dec. 31, the two organizations signed an agreement allowing the Guardsmen to continue assisting the 914th AW on a limited basis through Dec. 31, 2014, according to a Jan. 8 release. Eventually, though, the 107th AW will lose 221 personnel and be downgraded from a wing to a group, said Higgins.
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.