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Beale reserve unit regains air refueling mission

Col. Craig Peters, 940th Air Refueling Wing commander, unfurls the renewed 940 ARW flag at the 940th Air Refueling Wing re-designation ceremony and leadership assumptions of command this past weekend at Beale Air Force Base, California. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brenda Davis/released)

Col. Craig Peters, 940th Air Refueling Wing commander, unfurls the renewed 940 ARW flag at the 940th Air Refueling Wing re-designation ceremony and leadership assumptions of command this past weekend at Beale Air Force Base, California. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brenda Davis/released)

Audience members observe as the 940th Air Refueling Wing continues its proud story at Beale Air Base, California, on June 4, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brenda Davis/released)

Audience members observe as the 940th Air Refueling Wing continues its proud story at Beale Air Base, California, on June 4, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brenda Davis/released)

Col. Craig Peters (far left front), Col. Richard Heaslip (front center), and Col. Col. Aaron Heick (front right), prepare to assume command of the 940th Air Refueling Wing, 940th Operations Group, and 940th Maintenance Group respectively in an official Assumption of Command ceremony held June 4, 2016 at Beale Air Force Base, California. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brenda Davis/released)

Col. Craig Peters (far left front), Col. Richard Heaslip (front center), and Col. Col. Aaron Heick (front right), prepare to assume command of the 940th Air Refueling Wing, 940th Operations Group, and 940th Maintenance Group respectively in an official Assumption of Command ceremony held June 4, 2016 at Beale Air Force Base, California. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brenda Davis/released)

Maj. Gen. John Flournoy, Jr., 4th Air Force commander, Rep. John Garamendi of the 3rd Congressional District, and Chief Master Sgt. Brian Wong, 4th Air Force command chief, pose for a picture in front of the 940th Air Refueling Wing’s first KC-135 Stratotanker after an official ceremony, June 4, 2016, at Beale Air Force Base, California. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brenda Davis/released)

Maj. Gen. John Flournoy, Jr., 4th Air Force commander, Rep. John Garamendi of the 3rd Congressional District, and Chief Master Sgt. Brian Wong, 4th Air Force command chief, pose for a picture in front of the 940th Air Refueling Wing’s first KC-135 Stratotanker after an official ceremony, June 4, 2016, at Beale Air Force Base, California. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brenda Davis/released)

Senior Master Sgt. Johns, mentors Air Force Reserve recruits with the 940th Air Refueling Wing Development and Training Flight after the re-designation ceremony and leadership assumptions of command. Johns talked to them about their many different potential career paths within the Air Force Reserve. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brenda Davis/released)

Senior Master Sgt. Johns, mentors Air Force Reserve recruits with the 940th Air Refueling Wing Development and Training Flight after the re-designation ceremony and leadership assumptions of command. Johns talked to them about their many different potential career paths within the Air Force Reserve. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brenda Davis/released)

Beale Air Force Base, California -- The 940th officially converted back to an Air Refueling Wing and ushered in new leadership during a ceremony here June 4.

Col. Craig Peters assumed command of the 940th ARW, Col. Richard Heaslip, and Col. Aaron Heick took command of the 940th Operations Maintenance Groups, respectively.

Maj. Gen. John C. Flournoy, Jr., 4th Air Force commander, officiated.
“To the men and women of the 940th Air Refueling Wing, what a great opportunity,” said Flournoy. “You’ve gone through significant changes over the years, but life is about change, the military is about change. It’s how we adapt to change that matters and you never cease to amaze me.”

The 940th was a refueling wing from 1977 to 2005 when the Base Realignment and Closure Commission realigned the unit. The last tanker left in 2008 when the 940th Wing gained the RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude Intelligence, Reconnaissance and Surveillance mission.

During Saturday’s ceremony the 940th switched back the KC-135 Stratotanker mission, although the RQ-4 mission will still physically remain at Beale under the 13th and 12th Reconnaissance Squadrons.

The renewed KC-135 Stratotanker mission ushers in exciting new opportunities yet challenges for the wing as well as its new leaders.

With the tanker mission brings room for growth including a slight increase in the number of people working at Beale. The tanker’s mission will directly affect the surrounding population and community since most Citizen Airmen are integrated directly into the local community. The 940th will increase from approximately 900 to an estimated 1,200 personnel once all allotted jobs are filled and the mission is fully underway.

Rep. John Garamendi of the 3rd Congressional District, reflected his thoughts about the renewed mission’s impact on the community and the return of the tanker mission to Beale.

“I am sharing in a special moment, not only for the 940th but also for this base," said Garamendi. "Beale used to have these planes, now they are coming back. It means history is being repeated here. This is going to benefit the region as far as economic growth as well as increase the stature of this base. I am thrilled the mission is here at the 940th and refueling is back in town."

Peters assumed command of the wing from Col. John Trnka, Jr. Prior to Peters’ current assignment, he was the Assistant Deputy Director for Global Policy and Partnerships on the Joint Staff, Pentagon, Washington, D.C. Peters is a command pilot with more than 7,000 hours, including more than 290 combat flying hours.

“It gives me great pleasure to be here and stand up a new wing,” Peters said. “As a Citizen Airman, after a long work week you have a choice whether to be here on a Saturday instead of with family and friends. Thank you for being here and for supporting this new operation.

“To have a unit change missions, then gain the air refueling mission back years later, is a true testament to the focus of prior leadership and the 940th reservists’ abilities to accomplish the mission,” Peters said.