SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, NORTH CAROLINA – The 911th Air Refueling Squadron was reactivated Sept. 9, 2022, when Lt. Col. Skylar Rollins assumed command at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.
The 911th ARS is an active-duty tenant unit that falls under the 305th Air Mobility Wing, an Air Mobility Command unit out of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. Now assigned 12 KC-46A Pegasus aircraft, it is a total-force integration squadron working in active association with the Air Force Reserve Command’s 916th Air Refueling Wing.
“The unit combines maintenance and operations under one commander with an end strength of 145 Airmen covering 13 separate Air Force Specialty Codes,” said Senior Master Sgt. Benjamin Griffin, 911th ARS senior enlisted leader. “Airmen of 911th ARS are active-duty Airmen coming from all over the Air Force to work in association with the 916th (ARW). AMC has the ability through active association to task anytime for active-duty purposes. We get the call from AMC and big Air Force to deploy with the aircraft.”
Seymour Johnson Air Force Base is a unique place because it is one of only a few Air Force bases with both fighters and mobility aircraft that share a flight line daily, said Col. Elizabeth Hanson, 305th AMW commander, who presided over the ceremony.
“The relationships between associate units and the Reserve and active duty are special,” she said. “Each contribute to the mission in different ways to make the sum of the parts greater than that of the individual. With that comes many unique opportunities to support each other, learn about each other, and integrate when we can.”
According to Steve Beckett, the 916th ARW historian, the 911th ARS was once consolidated with the 411th Bombardment Squadron, which has history dating back to World War I. Constituted May 28, 1958, the 911th ARS was stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base beginning in December 1958. The squadron earned many accolades for combat sorties in multiple operations, including the MacKay Trophy in 1988. The 911th ARS became the first refueling squadron to refuel the F-35 and simultaneously refuel both the F-35 and F-22 in May 2011. By the end of 2020, the squadron’s personnel had dispersed across the Air Force, awaiting the arrival and operational readiness of the KC-46A Pegasus.
The rich history of the 911th ARS speaks for itself; but, upon assumption of command, Rollins also expressed excitement for the future.
“This place is the perfect blend of AMC, ACC, and AFRC,” he said, addressing his new squadron for the first time. “I know the incredible impact you have made across the mobility enterprise. Since the first total-force association began here in 2008, you have trained, mentored and developed hundreds of active-duty operators, maintainers, and support personnel in the 911th (ARS). At this very moment, we are ready to execute the nation’s business all over the world because of your efforts. Once again, the Red Eagles are part of the 916th (ARW) family and Team Seymour. Together with our new partners in the 305th (AMW), we will project and sustain combat capability in defense of the greatest nation in the world.”