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Joint Base Andrews News

NEWS | June 11, 2021

JBA reflects: A year of successful missions, moments

By Staff Sgt. Cary Smith 316th Wing Public Affairs

A year has passed since the host unit at Joint Base Andrews, Md., added on to history and reactivated as the 316th Wing when the 11th Wing returned to Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, in Washington, D.C.

The 316th WG and JBA have carried out their missions in honor of their storied history.

Their history began in the Civil War when Union soldiers used Chapel Two, located on base, as their headquarters, and when the 316th Transport Group dropped paratroopers and cargo during World War II. From 1980 to 2010, the wing went through a series of redesignations and activations before it was reactivated in June, 2020.

Col. Tyler Schaff, 316th WG and installation commander, took command while the world endured a public health crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, JBA took on the motto America’s Airfield, providing support to more than 80 tenant units and 60,000 Airmen and families worldwide.

“A year ago, the 316th Wing was reactivated here. As we all know, this was during a time of great adversity and unexpected challenges,” said Schaff. “We faced these challenges in stride, leaned on our resiliency, and embraced innovation as we continued to take care of the mission and maintain our readiness, at home and abroad.”

Throughout the year, there were key missions and programs the wing either led or its support played an integral part in the successes.

In June, 2020, America’s Airfield was the central hub for inbound COVID-19 personal protective equipment and medical supplies from Jordan.

Members from JBA provided a final salute to Rep. John Lewis as his casket arrived on base.

Throughout the year, the Aeromedical Staging Facility here, which is a leading medical personnel transport and staging location for the Air Force, continued operations and provided innovative solutions to carry-out the mission during the pandemic.

Pre-Raven training courses at JBA helped to provide the largest Raven unit in the Air Force with qualified Airmen, ready to protect Air Force aircraft around the world.

Female helicopter pilots from the 1st Helicopter Squadron commemorated 100 years of women’s right to vote with an all-female formation over the Nation’s capital.

In November 2020, the 316th WG hosted a multi-agency forensic training program. This was a two-day event to help members better serve the National Capital Region by training how to respond to and properly litigate emergency and criminal activities.

Like many presidents before, President Donald J. Trump gave his farewell speech at JBA before taking his final flight as President of the United States.

The 316th Medical Group stood up a dedicated COVID-19 vaccination site on base to provide immunizations to tens of thousands of military members, families and retirees in the local area with base access.

Veterans from the Old Soldier’s Home in Washington left the home for the first time since before the pandemic on March 29, 2021. One of their stops was at JBA to allow base members to honor them on Vietnam War Veterans Day.

The SparkX Cell Innovation and Idea Center continued to be a driving, innovative force throughout COVID-19, from developing masks and other protective equipment to hosting the first joint 89th Airlift Wing and 316th WG Spark Tank. Members of the base presented ideas that, when finalized and enacted, will improve base operations and save the Air Force money.

The 1st HS hosted their historic Order of the Heli ceremony, where two new members were inducted into the prestigious order.

Finally, after more base personnel were vaccinated and COVID-19 numbers were down, JBA was able to have a successful, in-person Wingman & Shipmate Day in May 2021.

“The last 12 months have proven our potential is limitless,” said Schaff. “I look forward to seeing where the next year takes us.”