Total Force takes shape at Scott Air Force Base

  • Published
  • By Major Jennifer C. Howsare
  • 126th Air Refueling Wing
The 126th Air Refueling Wing and the 375th Air Mobility Wing, both located at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, are partners in one of the U.S. Air Force's newest Total Force Integration initiatives. 

As part of the Air Force's ongoing TFI efforts, a KC-135 Stratotanker Active Association between the 126th ARW, an Illinois Air National Guard unit, and the 906th Air Refueling Squadron marks the beginning of another chapter in the total force endeavors at Scott AFB. 

The 906th ARS, formerly located at Grand Forks AFB, ND, underwent a "Flag Move," without personnel and equipment, to its new home at Scott AFB. The move, as part of a TFI and the Active Association, happened Oct. 1 and allowed recently assigned personnel to complete a Permanent Change of Station or PCS move directly into the newly established 906th ARS at Scott AFB. 

With the stand up of this Active Association, the 375th AMW will now be administratively responsible for personnel providing airlift and aerial refueling capabilities. Because of this additional mission, the 375th Airlift Wing redesignated on Oct. 1 to the 375th Air Mobility Wing or 375 AMW. 

In July 2009, Active Duty Airmen, comprised of aircrew, maintenance and support personnel, were assigned to the Illinois Air National Guard's 126th Air Refueling Wing, which now serves as the host organization for associated personnel. The assigned Active Duty Airmen work side-by-side 126th Airmen flying and maintaining the Air Guard's fleet of aircraft to accomplish the Wing's missions, to include contingency deployments. The 375th AMW is the Parent Wing for the 906th ARS with the 375th Operations Group handling administrative and logistical issues. 

"The Illinois Air National Guard's 126th Air Refueling Wing is an outstanding unit with a great history," said Maj. Gen. William Enyart, Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. "Our Illinois Airmen have an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience that makes the 126th Air Refueling Wing ideal to be an associate unit with the Air Force." 

Associated units provide many benefits to the Air Force including a greater day-to-day mission capability. The active association at Scott AFB will specifically allow the Total Air Force to more efficiently utilize its KC-135 force. Associations also generate efficiencies by sharing resources and reducing duplication of effort, increasing overall air refueling and airlift capabilities, while at the same time preserving a corporate body of knowledge. They also help to improve aircrew and maintenance expertise and experience levels, capitalizing on the long-term experience resident in Air National Guard units. 

"The legacy of the 126th Air Refueling Wing is proven with its nearly 60 years of service to the nation and over 80 years of flying with the 108th Air Refueling Squadron," said Col. Peter Nezamis, 126th Air Refueling Wing Commander. "During the nation's most troubled times, the 126th has always answered the call. The Wing's decorated accomplishments reflect the dedication of its officers and Airmen. This association will provide increased efficiencies through a combination of factors coupled with greater aircraft availability, utilization and trained airmen all increasing the command's capability to support world-wide aerial refueling requirements." 

Lt. Col. Joe Santos assumed command of the 906th ARS on 1 Oct. "It is truly an honor to have been selected to command the 906th Air Refueling Squadron," said Santos. "Scott Air Force Base leads the way in Total Force Integration and the 906th ARS Active Association is another example of partnering with the Reserve Component, specifically the 126th Air Refueling Wing to produce the finest Airmen defending our country." 

The active association between the 126th ARW and the 906th ARS is one of 10 current or near future Active Associations unfolding across the Air Force. 

Scott AFB is home to another Active Association involving the C-40C aircraft assigned to the Air Force Reserve Command's 932nd Airlift Wing, which is also located at Scott AFB. 

The 932nd welcomed their C-40C aircraft in Feb 2007, which allowed the unit to upgrade their transcontinental DV transport mission from C-9C aircraft and begin a new association with the 375 AMW at the same time. 

The 126th Air Refueling Wing is scheduled to receive approximately 135 regular Air Force authorizations by their full operational capability date, which is on or about Sept 2011. 

The 126th ARW is the oldest Air National Guard unit in Illinois and the first Air Refueling Unit in the Air National Guard. The 126 ARW has participated in nearly every major contingency of the 20th Century, and continues to support today's Global War on Terror. 

The unit traces its roots back to Midway Airport then Orchard Place Airport, now Chicago O'Hare Airport, until a Base Realignment and Closure directed move brought the unit to Scott AFB in 1999.