GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, ND --
The redesignation of the 319th Air Base Wing at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota, to the 319th Reconnaissance Wing took place today, June 28, 2019.
The ceremony was attended by 25th Air Force Leadership, North Dakota Air National Guard Leadership, North Dakota congressional delegates and community leaders signifying the immense weight of importance to the Air Force and local community alike.
The redesignation, initiated by the commander of Air Combat Command, Gen. Mike Holmes, 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 underway. Col. Cameron Pringle, 319th Reconnaissance Wing commander, assumed command prior to the redesignation ceremony and he presented a charge to the 319 RW.
“As it says on the patch of the 319th, we are the defenders of freedom, like those who have come before us, and I look forward to carrying that torch with you,” said Pringle. “We will together write the next chapter and the history of the 319th, and I am proud to serve with you. So let’s go ahead and carry that torch on together.”
The 69 RG mission and personnel now align under the 319 RW and the unit was redesignated as the 319th Operations Group, deactivating the 69th RG. The 319 OG will continue to execute the Global Hawk’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission in support of worldwide, full-spectrum operations. Maj. Gen. Mary F. O’Brien, 25th Air Force commander, officiated the change of command and the redesignation ceremony and she spoke of the significance of the redesignation.
“By aligning the group responsible for the RQ-4 operations under the wing responsible for the installation itself, we link the RQ-4 mission with support operations and we enhance capabilities, while looking at expanding those capabilities for the future,” said O’Brien. “So at the end of the day, our Warriors of the North can focus on what they do best, innovating, finding synergies, and building the collaborative partnerships necessary to make us an agile force, all while they are fighting from the forks.”