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15th Expeditionary Mobility Task Force furls its flag

Lt. Gen. Mark Ramsay, commander of the 18th Air Force, Chief Master Sgt. James Dowell, command chief of the 15th Expeditionary Mobility Task Force, and Brig. Gen. Robert Thomas, commander of the 15th EMTF, left to right, furl the flag of the 15th EMTF during an inactivation ceremony for the task force Tuesday morning at Travis Air Force Base. (Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic)

Lt. Gen. Mark Ramsay, commander of the 18th Air Force, Chief Master Sgt. James Dowell, command chief of the 15th Expeditionary Mobility Task Force, and Brig. Gen. Robert Thomas, commander of the 15th EMTF, left to right, furl the flag of the 15th EMTF during an inactivation ceremony for the task force Tuesday morning at Travis Air Force Base. (Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | March 21, 2012 |

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE — The 15th Expeditionary Mobility Task Force furled its flag Tuesday and passed into history.

The headquarters that oversaw the Travis-based 615th Contingency Response Wing and the Hawaii-based 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing ceased operations in an inactivation ceremony held on the Travis flight line.

“What a magnificent job you have done,” 18th Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Mark Ramsey told the assembled members of the 15th Expeditionary Mobility Task Force, lauding their work in running air mobility operations around the world.

The 15th Expeditionary Mobility Task Force, which has been around since October 2003, was previously the 15th Air Force, which has a heritage that goes all the way back to November 1943 when it ran air operations in southern Europe against Nazi Germany.

Both the 615th Contingency Response Wing and the 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing passed their flags over to their new higher headquarters, the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center with headquarters at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.

Later this spring, the 615th Contingency Response Wing will inactivate its headquarters unit and its subordinate squadrons will come under command of the 612th Contingency Response Wing.

Travis is not losing out in this change, for while the headquarters units are going away, the subordinate squadrons will stay at Travis.

Ramsey, who presided over the ceremony, said the inactivation is part of the Air Force’s campaign to streamline the command structure and improve contingency response forces operations.

“It is another evolutionary change to increase our efficiency and effectiveness,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey praised 15th Expeditionary Mobility Task Force commander Brig. Gen. Robert Thomas, saying “you have done a magnificent job here,” and pointing out that whenever other nations called for help, the 15th and its service members were always ready to answer that call.

To honor his leadership of the 15th Expeditionary Mobility Task Force, Ramsey pinned the Legion of Merit on Thomas.

Thomas thanked the 15th Expeditionary Mobility Task Force’s service members for their work and the local community for its support of the unit and Travis.

“You are very important to us,” Thomas told listening community representatives.

He told the 15th Expeditionary Mobility Task Force service members, “you are all heroes and you lead by example.”

Thomas, in comments directed to Maj. Gen. William Bender, the commander of the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center, said that Bender had a great command, but with the addition of the 15th Expeditionary Mobility Task Force’s subordinate units, “it will get even better.”

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or ithompson@dailyrepublic.net.

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson has worked for the Daily Republic longer than he cares to remember. A native of Oregon and a graduate of the University of Oregon, he pines for the motherland still. He covers Vacaville and Travis Air Force Base for the Daily Republic. He is an avid military history buff, wargamer and loves the great outdoors.
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