News: Final commander’s call for the 107th Maintenance Group
Story by Senior Master Sgt. Raymond Lloyd
NIAGARA FALLS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. - Members of the 107th Airlift Wing Maintenance Group attended their final commander’s call here March 8.
With the 107th AW’s conversion to the MQ-9 mission, which has no on-station maintenance requirement, an era of over 60 years is ending. The 107th maintenance group has provided support for the P-47, P-51, F-94, F-86, F-100, F101, T-33, F-4, F-16, KC135, and C-130 aircrafts, respectively, since 1948.
More than 200 personnel are affected with this change of mission. A majority will be able to cross-train into other career fields within the unit, others may have to transfer or retire.
“We held our heads up knowing we ended our day keeping the best maintained aircraft to do its mission,” said Chief Master Sgt. Phillip Tavenier, 107th Command Chief Master Sgt. “Take what was handed down, the knowledge, and go forward with your careers and lives. Be proud of your accomplishments and integrity you’ve done in maintenance,” he said.
“Every 107th pilot who walks up to the flying schedule board overseas prayed they had a 107th tail to fly and not another unit’s bird,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Thurn, 107th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Commander. “I thank you for everything you’ve done in keeping the best maintained aircraft in the unit’s history,” he said.
To lighten what was a somber and reflective mood, Col. Kevin Rogers, 107th Maintenance Group Commander, led the squadron in a trivia game of their history. He threw military commemorative coins to the Airmen who correctly answered questions about the squadron’s past deployments, events and memorable moments. The Airmen laughed with their commander as the quiz brought back memories.
“We were successful in the conversion from the KC-135 to C-130, successful in the association with the 914th Reserves and our inspections, and to see this part of unit’s history end is hard,” said Col. Rogers. “In 2013 when the Air Force was going to eliminate our unit, and then changing and giving us a new mission with the MQ-9 without maintenance, you pressed on with the inspections and our last overseas deployment with a 100% mission effective rate. I’m so proud of what you’ve done,” he said.
While this is the last official drill weekend for the squadron, members of maintenance will continue working on the C-130 aircraft until the end of the calendar year, as per an agreement with the 914th Airlift Wing.