Flag rolled up on airlift squadron

VIENNA, Ohio (WKBN) – A deactivation ceremony was held Sunday afternoon for the 773rd Airlift Squadron at the Air Reserve Station in Vienna.

A 3 p.m. ceremony officially disbanded the squadron that activated in 1995 as part of the 910th Airlift Wing.

The squadron was deactivated as part of Air Force structure changes, which reduced the 910th’s C-130 aircraft fleet to eight Primary Assigned Aircraft and one Back-up Inventory Aircraft.

During Sunday’s ceremony, the unit’s flag was rolled up rolled up and cased. Squadron leadership, members of the Air Wing, Congressman Tim Ryan, D-Niles, and senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman were in attendance, along with Squadron Commander Lt. Col. John A. Boccieri.

The 773rd have deployed to locations around the world supporting various contingency and humanitarian operations. Since 2001, members of the squadron have mobilized several times in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

The Citizen Airmen operated out of bases in Southwest Asia including isolated airfields in Iraq and Afghanistan to provide airlift and airdrop capability of much needed equipment and personnel.

Boccieri said this is not the first time the squadron has been deactivated. He said training will continue.

“We will still maintain the same certifications aboard the C-130 that we maintain in the 773rd Squadron in the 757 Squadron,” said Boccieri. “However, now our missions are going to be streamlined.”

Congressman Tim Ryan said the change is not going to be without impact for the Valley.

“It is going to be a minor hit economically, unfortunately. We have other things picking up in other areas of the community, so we are not solely relying on the Air Force Base,” said Ryan

When the deactivation was announced last year, officials at the Air Reserve Station said 50 full-time and 150 part-time positions would be eliminated over several months.

Approximately 2,000 people work at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna, including 1,600 reservists and 400 full-time civilian employees.

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