News: 1 CMS inactivates, 1 EMS becomes 1 MXS in ceremony
Story by Staff Sgt. Ashley Hawkins
LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- The landscape of the 1st Fighter Wing’s corps of maintainers changed as the 1st Component Maintenance Squadron inactivated and the 1st Equipment Maintenance Squadron was re-designated as the 1st Maintenance Squadron in a historic ceremony at the 149th Fighter Squadron hangar, Oct. 29.
The airmen of the two squadrons merged together to form the large new squadron, nicknamed the “Dragons.” Along with the inactivation and re-designation came a change of command as Lt. Col. Jason Gibson, former 1 EMS commander, relinquished command of the re-named unit to Maj. Elizabeth Boehm, the last commander of the 1 CMS prior to its inactivation.
Col. George Zaniewski, commander of the1st Maintenance Group, praised the steadfastness of Colonel Gibson in the face of “tumultuous times” at Langley, bringing to light the squadron’s accomplishments under his command.
“You’ve been an out in front leader from day one in everything from filling sandbags with your airmen in preparation for a Nor’easter that dumped millions of gallons of water in your facilities to coming face to face with the [inspector general] across the 180-day table not once, not twice, but three times and all the [operational readiness exercises] that ensued in that endeavor,” Zaniewski said. “From ammo to armament, you’ve brought improvement to processes, environment and personal performance that will last years beyond your tenure.”
Gibson reflected on the illustrious past of the 1 EMS, recalling the wide array of warplanes serviced by its Airmen since its establishment in 1947 and encouraging the squadron to move forward and continue its rich legacy under Major Boehm.
“This squadron and the people who have served in it have made our country stronger,” he said. “1 EMS Airmen have been there to sustain our airpower and to keep our country safe and free.”
After Gibson received his third Meritorious Service Medal, the two commanders retired the respective guidons of their squadrons, and together Zaniewski and Major Boehm unfurled the colors of the 1 MXS. Two formations of airmen, representing each squadron, formed fluidly together as one large unit, representing the new union built under the redesignation.
“Watching the two maintenance units of my youth merge before my eyes was truly inspiring. Being their commander is truly humbling,” said Boehm. “As a maintenance squadron our mission is unequivocal -- to develop razor-sharp, combat-focused maintenance professionals who provide safe, reliable weapons systems at all times.
“With now more than 600 personnel in the 1 MXS, I have great confidence that we can handle the tremendous responsibilities of keeping the mighty F-22 Raptor in the skies while acutely balancing the needs of the mission and our people,” she said.