With the furling of its unit guidon, the 649th Combat Logistics Support Squadron on Hill Air Force Base was formally inactivated Oct. 1.
The squadron, which started as the 2952nd CLSS in 1967, provided aircraft battle damage repair and crash damage repair, and sent depot field teams worldwide to support F-16, A-10 and F-22 aircraft. The mission and the 56 remaining squadron members will become part of the Expeditionary Depot Maintenance Flight under the 573rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group.
"Over the last four decades, the 2952nd and 649th have made their presence known all over the globe," said Col. Steve LaVoye, 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group commander, in his ceremony remarks. "They've been involved in maintenance actions on U.S. Air Force and foreign military sales fighter aircraft spanning five continents.
"They have been tasked to assist on week- or month-long and up to multi-year projects to reconstruct aircraft from the ground up. Working these tasks not only return aircraft to services sometimes 'better than new,' but also allow the maintainers to hone their technical skills to enhance expeditionary maintenance readiness," LaVoye said.
Maj. Tom Ruiz, 649th commander since June 2007, noted that in his first production briefing, the unit had 54 out of 200 members on the road in eight different locations around the world. As it draws down, the 649th now has 10 people on the road in four locations, and 56 members.
He recalled how he and many others hoped the news of the unit closing would "just go away."
"Despite the bad news, I challenged my team to continue to provide the first class professionalism, incredible work ethic, and "can do" enthusiasm our customers had come to expect," Ruiz said. "I am proud to report that they rose to the challenge in every case.
"From some of the first 'official' Depot Field Teams in Vietnam modifying F-4 aircraft ejection seats, escorting missiles on railcars throughout the U.S., forward deploying in support of Operation Desert Storm, repairing and replacing cracked landing gear bulkheads on F-16s, to leading the A-10 wing crack repairs on forward deployed combat aircraft, the men and women assigned to the 2952nd and 649th CLSS throughout the past 42 years have embodied the traditions of professionalism and excellence," said Ruiz.
The inactivation ceremony was also a reunion of sorts as present and former squadron members and commanders, were reunited. Among them were two men -- Bob Binder of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Eric Roberts, a 416th Supply Chain Management Squadron employee at Hill AFB -- who were unit members when the 2952 CLSS was activated on Dec. 1, 1967.
The 649th held an inactivation dinner later on Oct. 1, with Lt. Gen. Thomas J. Owen as guest speaker. He is a former commander of both the 2952nd and 649th CLSS and is now commander of the Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.