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Secretary of the Air Force Announces Grand Forks Air Force Base Re-designation

Colonel Benjamin Spencer, 319th Air Base Wing commander, answered questions alongside Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force and John Hoeven, U.S. Senator of North Dakota about the future of the RQ-4 Global Hawk mission during the announcement of the upcoming re-designation to the 319th Reconnaissance Wing May 11, 2019 at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. The official re-designation ceremony is scheduled for June 28, 2019, the effective date of re-designation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Michael Reeves Jr.)

Colonel Benjamin Spencer, 319th Air Base Wing commander, answered questions alongside Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force and John Hoeven, U.S. Senator of North Dakota about the future of the RQ-4 Global Hawk mission during the announcement of the upcoming re-designation to the 319th Reconnaissance Wing May 11, 2019 at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. The official re-designation ceremony is scheduled for June 28, 2019, the effective date of re-designation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Michael Reeves Jr.)

Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force, announced the 319th Air Base Wing’s upcoming re-designation to the 319th Reconnaissance Wing May 11, 2019 at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. The re-designation, initiated by Commander 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. The official re-designation ceremony is scheduled for June 28, 2019, the effective date of re-designation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Michael Reeves Jr.)

Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force, announced the 319th Air Base Wing’s upcoming re-designation to the 319th Reconnaissance Wing May 11, 2019 at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. The re-designation, initiated by Commander 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. The official re-designation ceremony is scheduled for June 28, 2019, the effective date of re-designation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Michael Reeves Jr.)

John Hoeven, U.S. Senator of North Dakota, spoke with Air Force leadership and Grand Forks community partners at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota, prior to the announcement of the upcoming 319th Air Base Wing’s re-designation to the 319th Reconnaissance Wing May 11, 2019. The official re-designation ceremony is scheduled for June 28, 2019, the effective date of re-designation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Michael Reeves Jr.)

John Hoeven, U.S. Senator of North Dakota, spoke with Air Force leadership and Grand Forks community partners at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota, prior to the announcement of the upcoming 319th Air Base Wing’s re-designation to the 319th Reconnaissance Wing May 11, 2019. The official re-designation ceremony is scheduled for June 28, 2019, the effective date of re-designation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Michael Reeves Jr.)

Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force, met with Airmen after announcing the 319th Air Base Wing’s re-designation to the 319th Reconnaissance Wing May 11, 2019 at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. The official re-designation ceremony is scheduled for June 28, 2019, the effective date of re-designation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Elijiah Tiggs)

Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force, met with Airmen after announcing the 319th Air Base Wing’s re-designation to the 319th Reconnaissance Wing May 11, 2019 at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. The official re-designation ceremony is scheduled for June 28, 2019, the effective date of re-designation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Elijiah Tiggs)

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, ND --

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 today, May 11, 2019 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.