By Kenny Scarle, 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 15, 2012
ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Altus Air Force Base has a new addition under its wing - the 730th Air Mobility Training Squadron. In an activation and assumption of command ceremony on base June 13, the 730th reserve unit re-activated as a member of Altus AFB's total force initiative between the active-duty 97th Air Mobility Wing and the 452nd Air Mobility Wing under 4th Air Force and the Air Force Reserve Command.
This group of "citizen Airmen" led by their newly-appointed commander, Lt. Col. Jonathan M. Philebaum, will work side-by-side with active-duty Airmen in the 97th AMW, training C-17 Globemaster III and KC-135 Stratotanker aircrew members. This new association in intended to increase global mobility and engagement options in support of peacetime and combat operations, forging combat mobility forces and deploying Airmen warriors.
Brigadier General Udo K. McGregor, 452nd Air Mobility Wing commander, was the presiding officer for the ceremony. The 730th AMTS is the first reserve unit serving at an Air Mobility Command school house and is expected to merge with the active-duty airmen seamlessly, said McGregor.
"We tap into a very experienced reserve capacity; we tap into the active duty that wants to continue to serve; we tap into the communities and we bring all that together into a synergy - the whole is greater than its sum parts," said McGregor.
As Philebaum assumed command of the 730th AMTS, he said he will continue its distinguished heritage dating from May 1943 to May 2005, flying both combat and humanitarian missions from more than a dozen bases around the world.
"As our illustrious lineage indicates, we are committed to people, the mission, and this partnership - and as our Airmen's Creed states, 'we will not fail,'" said Philebaum
Activated in 1943 during World War II, the 730th has performed a variety of missions - from bombardment to night photo and tactical reconnaissance; to troop carrier, tactical and military airlift in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War. The unit first saw reserve duty when activated in the reserve on Aug. 1, 1947. On Mar. 25, 1968, the 730th Military Airlift Squadron became the first associate reserve unit, which is when a reserve unit shares facilities and aircraft with an active-duty unit. It was redesignated the 730th Airlift Squadron (associate) on Feb. 1, 1992 and then deactivated on March 19, 2005. The 730th has flown a multitude of aircraft including the B-17 Flying Fortress, T-6 Texan, T-7 Navigator, T-11 Kansan, B-26 Marauder, F-51 Mustang, C-46 Commando, C-119 Flying Boxcar, C-141 Starlifter and now the C-17 and KC-135.
Many previous members of the 730th squadron attended the ceremony. Retired loadmaster Senior Master Sgt. Frank Owens said he began his career with the 730th "Rebels" during Vietnam. He continued flying in Operation Desert Storm and retired in 2005, with the squadron's deactivation.
"It's certainly an honor to be present here to watch it come back," said Owens. "In a way, I'm ready to go find a recruiter now and go sign up again."
Owens said he joined the reserves right after leaving the Marine Corps because he wanted to fly. But he also had a civilian job. The 730th AMTS offered the best of both worlds.
"I flew quite a number of missions in and out of Vietnam and back," said Owens. "And it wasn't uncommon for me to leave my civilian job, leave on a Sunday, be in Vietnam Wednesday and being back to work the following weekend."
Maj. Trevyr DuPont, flight commander of the centralized flight instructor course for the 730th AMTS, has been working with the new squadron for 14 months, preparing for its integration of the unit into Altus AFB.
"We look forward to working with the active-duty unit here, continuing to grow the culture within the 730th," said DuPont. "We call it the 'Rebel' culture and doing what we do best, which is taking care of people and taking care of families."
DuPont was on active duty at Altus AFB for five years, and although he enjoyed his time with the 54th Air Refueling Squadron, he said he likes being a reservist even more.
"It steps me out and lets me be non-deployable, if I want to look at it that way, here at Altus. I now have lots of time with the family and it's just a different perspective. However I don't regret any of my active-duty experience because I wouldn't be where I am today without that active-duty experience," said DuPont.
Col. Anthony B. Krawietz, 97th AMW commander, also welcomed the 730th AMTS to Altus and encouraged the integration of the wing, the reserve and the local community.
"We know how to work together. And we're excited; we're excited to bring this additional depth and breadth and experience to Altus and we look forward to having a place for our talented young men and women. When the time comes for them to make a decision based on their family, they have somewhere to go," said Krawietz.
As the squadron presented Philebaum with its first salute, he in turn addressed the men and women of the 730th AMTS with some challenging words of his own.
"You have heard our charge; you have the tools and the resources to maintain a strong unity of effort in the mission. You are more than capable," he said. "We are no longer a detachment, I reiterate. We are empowered to get the job done. Now let's go get to work - we are the Rebels."