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766th AES deactivates, marks change for JET Airmen

Col. Lesa Toler, 466th Air Expeditionary Group commander, and Lt. Col. Jeffrey Collins, 766th  Air Expeditionary Squadron commander, rolls the guidon as Lt. Col. Collins relinquishes command during the 766th AES inactivation ceremony at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, March 23, 2011. Colonel Collins will assume command of the 966th Air Expeditionary Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sheila deVera)

Col. Lesa Toler, 466th Air Expeditionary Group commander, and Lt. Col. Jeffrey Collins, 766th Air Expeditionary Squadron commander, rolls the guidon as Lt. Col. Collins relinquishes command during the 766th AES inactivation ceremony at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, March 23, 2011. Colonel Collins will assume command of the 966th Air Expeditionary Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sheila deVera)

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (AFNS) -- With the deactivation of the 766th Air Expeditionary Squadron here March 23, the administrative and operational control of joint expeditionary tasked and individual augmentee Airmen in Afghanistan will consolidate under the 966th Air Expeditionary Squadron.

The 766th AES formerly based at Sharana Forward Operating Base, Afghanistan, was responsible for Airmen serving at 58 forward operating bases and combat outpost throughout Regional Command - East.

Those responsibilities will be realigned under the 966th AES based here, making it the largest squadron within Bagram.

"The histories of these expeditionary squadrons are short, but we will not let that history or our Airmen down," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Collins, the 966th AES commander. "I hope the 766th represents a legacy of taking care of Airmen, I know the 966th will continue to do the same."

Combining the Sharana and Bagram squadrons offers better efficiency for squadron leadership as the tactical commanders for RC-East and North reside here at Bagram, said Col. Lesa Toler, the 466th Air Expeditionary Group commander.

It also provides increased freedom of movement for reaching our Airmen in RC-East as Bagram is a hub of both fixed and rotary wing aircraft," Toler said. "They will also have better visibility of our Airmen deploying throughout the battlespace and redeploying to home station."

There are more than 2,700 JET and IA Airmen working in more than 153 separate locations in Afghanistan.

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