649th Combat Logistics Squadron to deactivate Oct. 1

The 649th Combat Logistics Support Squadron will be gone soon, but they aren't going away without a celebration.

The unit, known for deploying teams worldwide to perform heavy maintenance and modifications to battle damaged aircraft, will be formally deactivated by the Air Force on Oct. 1.

As part of the Air Force's proposed force structure realignment plan for fiscal year 2010, installations all over the U.S. will see civilian and military personnel changes, as well as the reassignment of aircraft.

The Air Force Materiel Command is closing the CLSS units at Hill, Robins Air Force Base in Georgia and Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma and transferring the work to other centers as a cost-saving measure.

Before the 649th turns into a piece of Air Force history, the base will host a day of special events for the unit and its members.

"The work we've done in this unit has been very critical to the Air Force mission," said Maj, Tom Ruiz, the unit's last squadron commander. "We've had a tremendous group of people that have answered the call."

To honor the soon-to-be extinct unit, the base will hold a ceremony in the Aircraft Battle Damage Repair Training Facility at 10 a.m. Oct. 1.

The deactivation ceremony will be followed by a reception at Hubbard Memorial Golf Course on base. The 649th will also have a squadron dinner that night at the Ogden Eccles Center, 2415 Washington Blvd.

A social begins at 5 p.m. and will be followed by dinner. The cost for the dinner is $30.

Base spokesman Bill Orndorff said all current and former unit members are invited to attend the activities.

The squadron was first established in 1967 and performed one of the Air Force's most important missions: repairing military aircraft that have crashed or sustained battle damage.

Performing highly complex multiyear projects, many times reconstructing aircraft from the ground up, the crew traveled across the globe for on-site repair work to the Air Force's active-duty A-10, F-16, and F-22 aircraft.

"It's a very critical mission," Ruiz said. "It's a very detailed job and not something just your average person could do."

Ruiz said the work the 649th did will continue, but the impending deactivation of the squadron will require combined teams of military and civilian personnel to get that job done in the future.

Those planning to attend either the deactivation ceremony or the dinner should contact the 309th Maintenance Wing's Protocol Office at (801) 586-0014 or by e-mail, 309mxw.protocol@hill.af.mil.

The deadline for ceremony reservations is Sept. 25, and dinner reservations were due earlier.

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