The U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson announced the re-designation of the 319th Air Base Wing at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota, as the 319th Reconnaissance Wing on May 11, at Grand Forks AFB.
The re-designation, initiated by Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, aligns Grand Forks AFB’s host wing and the 69th Reconnaissance Group. The 69 RG, which flies the high-altitude, remotely-piloted RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft, has been aligned under the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base, California, since it initiated operations as a tenant at Grand Forks AFB in 2011.
Although there won’t be any changes to aircraft or operations at Beale AFB, changes at Grand Forks AFB are expected to start this summer.
Wilson stated, “You know some people talk about these as being autonomous, or talk about them as drones, but they are not. It is our Airmen, always on watch with their ingenuity, pushing the limits for our joint warfighters around the world.”
When the 69 RG mission and personnel align under the 319 RW, the unit will be activated as the 319th Operations Group and the 69th Reconnaissance Group will inactivate. The 319 OG will continue to execute the Global Hawk’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission in support of worldwide, full-spectrum operations.
The official re-designation ceremony is scheduled for June 28, 2019, in conjunction with the change of command between Col. Benjamin Spencer and Col. Cameron Pringle.
Senior Airman Elijaih Tiggs, 319th Air Base Wing