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816th Contingency Response Group inactivation ceremony takes parent wing into new era

Col. James Hamilton cases his squadron's colors during its inactivation ceremony June 11, 2010, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The inactivation will boost the capabilities of the wing's two remaining contingency response groups and assist with the creation of an Air National Guard CRG. Colonel Hamilton is the 816th Contingency Response Group commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Laura Deckman)

Col. James Hamilton cases his squadron's colors during its inactivation ceremony June 11, 2010, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The inactivation will boost the capabilities of the wing's two remaining contingency response groups and assist with the creation of an Air National Guard CRG. Colonel Hamilton is the 816th Contingency Response Group commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Laura Deckman)

Members of the 816th Contingency Response Group, 621st Contingency Response Wing, observe its inactivation ceremony at the CRW Global Reach Deployment Center June 11, 2010, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The inactivation is part of an Air Force ordered restructuring that boosts the capabilities of the wing's remaining groups and assists the creation of an Air National Guard CRG. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Parker Gyokeres)

Members of the 816th Contingency Response Group, 621st Contingency Response Wing, observe its inactivation ceremony at the CRW Global Reach Deployment Center June 11, 2010, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The inactivation is part of an Air Force ordered restructuring that boosts the capabilities of the wing's remaining groups and assists the creation of an Air National Guard CRG. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Parker Gyokeres)

Lt. Col. Tom Highsmith observes the inactivation ceremony of the 816th Contingency Response Group June 11, 2010, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The inactivation is part of an Air Force ordered restructuring that boosts the capabilities of the wing's remaining groups and assists the creation of an Air National Guard CRG. Colonel Highsmith is the 816th Global Mobility Squadron director of operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Parker Gyokeres)

Lt. Col. Tom Highsmith observes the inactivation ceremony of the 816th Contingency Response Group June 11, 2010, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The inactivation is part of an Air Force ordered restructuring that boosts the capabilities of the wing's remaining groups and assists the creation of an Air National Guard CRG. Colonel Highsmith is the 816th Global Mobility Squadron director of operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Parker Gyokeres)

Members of the 816th Contingency Response Group watch the posting of the colors during the 816th CRG's inactivation ceremony at the 621st Contingency Response Wing's Global Reach Deployment Center June 11, 2010, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The unit was founded Mar. 1, 2005, and saw worldwide service as the wing's first CRG. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Parker Gyokeres)

Members of the 816th Contingency Response Group watch the posting of the colors during the 816th CRG's inactivation ceremony at the 621st Contingency Response Wing's Global Reach Deployment Center June 11, 2010, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The unit was founded Mar. 1, 2005, and saw worldwide service as the wing's first CRG. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Parker Gyokeres)

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. (AFNS) -- Five years after its creation, the 816th Contingency Response Group closed its doors, furled and cased its flag, and held its inactivation ceremony here June 11.

The action was a result of a force restructuring that moves contingency response capability to the New Jersey Air National Guard's 108th Air Refueling Wing, also here at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

"The reorganization of the contingency response wing reduced us from three contingency response groups to two," said Col. Rich Anderson, the 621st CRW vice commander. "There will be no net loss in manpower, as the Airmen once assigned to the 816th CRG will be building capability in the two remaining groups.

"We had authorized positions in our unit structure to perform three airbase opening missions," he said. "But we were never fully manned to fulfill all three taskings at the same time.

"This manpower restructuring builds capability in the 817th and 818th CRGs and transfers some of the contingency response mission to the 108th ARW, creating an Air National Guard Contingency Response group," he added.

In addition to the inactivation of the 816th CRG, there was a transfer of more than 100 mobility Airmen from the 819th Global Support Squadron to the two remaining operations groups. This move is designed to refine and tailor the support mission of the GSS toward mission support and training, and further boost expeditionary mobility support capability in the CRGs.

Activated Mar. 1, 2005, the roughly 100-member unit was the first operational group established in the 621st CRW. Since its inception, it has been deployed worldwide in support of combatant commander taskings. Its expertise was in rapidly providing teams of air mobility experts and ran the spectrum from full airbase opening missions to small teams that established and operated air mobility ports and offloaded humanitarian aid supplies or critical war materials.

The unit recently returned from its final unit deployment to Bahrain, said Lt. Col. Vikki Ellison, the 816th Global Mobility Squadron commander.

"The group has a lot to be proud of," she said. "One of the things that made this unit so special was its character of being a family. And to be able to head out as an entire unit right before casing its colors was very special.

"As the unit inactivates and its outstanding Airmen move to other jobs in the wing, I want them to know how proud I am of them and their families," she added. "In its short but distinguished history, the 816th CRG performed the mission of units many times its size, under difficult conditions, in remote locations and often with little to no notice. This group is casing its colors at the top of its game, and that is what I want them to take with them as they move out to do more great things."

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