News | June 9, 2020

Spring changes in the air: JBA says goodbye to 11th Wing, welcomes 316th

By 2nd Lt Myron McRae 11th Wing Public Affairs

As the temperature begins to rise and flowers blossom to their full extent, it becomes evident seasonal change is in the air. With summer months approaching, military families globally gear up for permanent change of station season.

This summer, families aren’t the only ones preparing for adjustments. Joint Base Andrews is going through a spring change of its own as it says goodbye to the prestigious 11th Wing and welcomes the 316th Wing.

A historic moment occurs on June 11, 2020, as a change of command ceremony welcomes Col. Tyler Schaff, from the 436th Mission Support Group at Dover Air Force Base, as the new wing commander. This moment, marks the inactivation of the 11th Wing and the activation of the 316th Wing. However, the great news is the 11th Wing won’t be leaving the Air Force family. On the contrary, it is being re-designated and activated at its previous home: Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, in Washington, D.C.

For the past 10 years, JBA has added notable accomplishments to the esteemed lineage of the 11th Wing unit that dates back to World War II.

This famous unit’s origins can be traced to the 11th Bombardment Group, which was first activated on February 1, 1940. The aircraft housed were the B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator, both of which were used in combat during Pacific Theater of Operations.

Over the next several years through World War II and after, the unit would conduct missions all across the Pacific.

From Hawaii, to Japan, to even Guam, the 11th BG had a plethora of successful operations, including garnering a Navy Presidential Unit Citation for its actions in the South Pacific in 1942. After World War II concluded, the unit remained active for only a few more years until it was inactivated on October 20, 1948.

On November 15, 1978, the 11th BG was returned to action as the 11th Strategic Group at Royal Air Force Fairford, England.

In England, operations for the group included air refueling support, deployments; and participation in NATO exercises. The group had aircraft and crews rotated in from bases in Saudi Arabia, Iceland, Spain, Azores, Italy, and Greece. The 11th Strategic Group continued to make its presence known throughout Europe until it was inactivated on August 7, 1990.

Four years later, the 11th reemerged into the Air Force family as the 11th Support Wing and made its first appearance in the National Capital Region on July 15, 1994. 

The wing was aligned as a direct reporting unit to the Vice Chief of Staff at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. Its primary mission was to become the single manager of every Air Force activity supporting Headquarters AF along with other NCR units. This translated into the unit supporting the NCR as the administrative management for more than 40,000 Air Force military members across 250 locations.

In 1996 with the approval of Gen. Ronald R. Fogelman, 11th Wing changed its motto to “The Chief’s Own” due to its service rather than a specific function. Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling would then become the unit’s home and where they prospered for a decade until its next relocation.

In 2010, the 11th Wing was on the move once again but, the route to its next destination was shorter. Only 12 miles away, the wing found a new home in the NCR at JBA and became the host unit of the installation as well as the parent organization for the 1st Helicopter Squadron.

As the decade progressed, the group became the host for a number of other units including the 811th Operations Group, 11th Mission Support Group, 11th Security Forces Group, 11th Medical Group, and the 11th Operations Group.

As the storied history of the 11th Wing begins its next chapter with its return to Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, the 316th Wing brings its heritage to its new home at Joint Base Andrews.