Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

May 12, 2016 at 12:10pm

10th AS inactivation 'bittersweet'

Lt. Col. Nathan Campbell (right), former 10th Airlift Squadron commander, passes the 10th AS guidon to Col. David Owens (left), 62nd Operations Group commander May 6, during the 10th AS inactivation ceremony at JBLM. Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Sean Tobin

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For the fifth time in its 76-year history, the 10th Airlift Squadron at McChord Field was inactivated in a ceremony here May 6. Prior to this ceremony, the squadron had been inactivated four times and reactivated five times since its inception. It was most recently reactivated at McChord Field back in 2003.

This inactivation was part of a provision of the 2015 President's Budget, which also called for Air Mobility Command to convert 16 of its C-17 Globemaster III aircraft from primary aircraft inventory to backup aircraft inventory status - eight from McChord and eight from Joint Base Charleston's 437th Airlift Wing in South Carolina.

Lt. Col. Nathan Campbell, 10th Airlift Squadron commander, laughs at being sprayed with water after flying his last flight as commander of the 10 AS prior to the unit’s inactivation. Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Sean Tobin

"Today is bittersweet," said Lt. Col. Nathan Campbell, the former 10th AS commander. "While there is some sadness as we bring to close another rich chapter in the history of the 10th Airlift Squadron, it brings me great happiness and pride to reflect on the feats of the incredible men and women of the 10th."

In its nearly 13 years based at McChord, the 10th AS, also known as the "Pathfinders," took part in missions all over the world, to include Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Freedom's Sentinel, and Operation Inherent Resolve.  Additionally, the unit has helped provide aide during global humanitarian crises and has participated in Operation Deep Freeze, working with the National Science Foundation and the United States Antarctic Program.

During the ceremony, Col. David Owens, 62nd Operations Group commander, said the unit has built a legacy of airlift that no other country and very few organizations can compare to. He then reminded those in attendance that, although the unit has inactivated a number of times before, the Pathfinders have always returned.

“My guess is that someday the Air Force will see fit to once again unfurl the flag and reactivate this fantastic squadron,” said Owens. “One thing I am certain of is, no matter when it happens, the airmen of the 10th Airlift Squadron will once again be ready to lead the way.”

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