Joint Base Langley-Eustis
|Airmen stand in formation during the 633d Air Base Wing activation and change-of-command ceremony. The activation of the 633d ABW is the first step in fulfilling congress’ 2005 Base Realignment and Closure decision that forms Joint Base Langley-Eustis later this month.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class John Teti)
In accordance with the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) report, Langley Air Force Base in Hampton and Fort Eustis Army Base in Newport News merged their administrative functions and became Joint Base Langley-Eustis on January 29, 2010.
Military officials say the process of combining operations is expected to last through October of 2010. The joint basing initiative began with the stand-up of the 633d Air Base Wing (ABW), an Air Force-lead mission support wing, serving both Air Force and Army units. The purpose of the 633rd ABW is to “optimally organize Langley as the supporting component in the joint base model. (U.S. Army post Fort Eustis will be the supported component.)”
The merger is not designed to reduce the number of military personnel or civilian workers at the bases. Instead, it’s a way to become more efficient and save money in the long term. About 16,000 soldiers and Air Force service members are currently stationed at the bases.
Joint basing promotes and fosters a more cohesive operational partnership between the Air Force and Army while preserving mission capabilities and unique service identities.
Assuming command, Col. Donald Kirkland, most recently the 5th Maintenance Group commander at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., will transition 1st Mission Support Group and 1st Medical Group units as well as 1st FW staff agencies into 633rd ABW assets.
“The teamwork among Langley AFB and Ft Eustis leadership has been phenomenal,” Colonel Kirkland said. “Their smart decisions will ensure that once installation support activities are consolidated under the 633rd Air Base Wing, the same excellent quality of support will continue.”
The 1st FW, remaining under the command of Col. Matt Molloy, will continue F-15C/D Eagle and F-22A Raptor airfield operations under the 1st Operations Group and 1st Maintenance Group.
“I look forward to taking airpower as well as joint force cooperation and integration to the next level through a close partnership with the 633rd ABW and our Fort Eustis brothers-in-arms. I expect nothing short of spectacular success,” remarked Colonel Molloy.
Colonel Kirkland said the changes will take time as Air Force and Army officials learn to adapt to the necessities of joint basing. However, he insisted that each installation will maintain its identity and culture, and that the missions will remain unchanged.
“The color of the uniform may change in certain jobs, but the service will be transparent,” he said. “We are ‘one team, one fight’ and will learn from each other as we progress into joint basing.”
The 13th Air Force initially established the wing as the 633d Combat Support Group at Pleiku Air Base, South Vietnam in March of 1966. Following deactivation in 1970, the wing reemerged as the 633d ABW in 1989 and served as the host unit at Andersen AFB, Guam until deactivation in October of 1994.
Langley and Fort Eustis are among 26 installations across the country combining into 12 joint bases. They were singled out for consolidation in 2005 during the military’s Base Realignment and Closure process. Also in Hampton Roads, in the Fall of 2009, Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base and Fort Story (U.S. Army) merged to become Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. (Story)