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Little Rock Air Force Base celebrates 70th wing anniversary

Men and women converse in a large room.

Team Little Rock members gather for the 70th wing anniversary luncheon on Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Aug. 17, 2018. Team Little Rock gathered to celebrate the 19th being activated as a wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhett Isbell)

A man speaks in front of a crowd.

U.S. Air Force Col. Donohue, 19th Airlift Wing commander, speaks during the 70th wing anniversary luncheon on Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Aug. 17, 2018. The event was to commemorate the activation of the 19th as a wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhett Isbell)

A suit of armor is posed in front of a backdrop.

Rodney, 19th Airlift Wing black knight mascot, was brought to the 70th wing anniversary luncheon for photos with attendees on Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Aug. 17, 2018. Rodney was available for photos with event attendees. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhett Isbell)


Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, recently celebrated the 70th anniversary of the 19th being activated as a wing.

Team Little Rock members gathered Aug. 17, 2018, during a luncheon to discuss the history of the wing, as well as to celebrate what the wing accomplishes today.

“We’re celebrating the 70th anniversary of being stood up as a wing,” said Chris Schack 19th Airlift Wing Protocol office deputy chief of protocol. “It’s all fairly neat because it happened 11 months after the Air Force came about.”

Growing into what is now the home of agile combat airlift, the 19th began with the formation of the 19th Bombardment Wing on August 10, 1948. Followed by being changed into the 19th Air Refueling Wing on Sept. 1, 1991.

Adapting to new environments and demands has been a staple of the 19th.

“It was different times and different circumstances,” said Bob Oldham, 19th Airlift Wing Protocol Office chief of protocol. “We change to fit the need.”

Even after two large-scale changes to the structure of the 19th it didn’t stop members from adjusting to yet another change after being transformed into the 19th Airlift Wing on Oct. 1, 2008.

“I like that I’m part of a unit that’s been around for so long,” Schack said. “Even with the changes throughout the years. It means a lot to me that we’re recognizing this history.”

Today the 19th Airlift Wing accomplishes operations across the globe in support of multiple missions with no signs of stopping in the near future. With such an enduring presence, members of the 19th Airlift Wing are able to look at the accomplishments of those who came before them to see they stand on the shoulders of giants.

“The wing has a meritorious unit award and after seeing the rest of the award streamers on the wing’s flag, then you realize that we’ve accomplished quite a bit and Airmen can take pride in that,” Oldham said.

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