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NEWS | May 7, 2021

Infrastructure a key focus in improving readiness during service-lead transfer changes

By Tech. Sgt. Corey Hook 11th Wing

The 11th Wing – The Chief’s Own celebrates one year after being activated on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling June 12.


The activation was one of a series of events to prepare the installation for a transfer from U.S. Navy to U.S. Air Force responsibility Oct. 1, 2020.


“The last year has been an incredible experience leading the 11th Wing – the Chief’s Own as we stand up this wing,” said Col. Mike “Goose” Zuhlsdorf. “I’m very proud of all the effort put forth by the men and women of the 11th Wing. A lot of great work has been done to increase the readiness of the wing, to grow our partnerships with our on-base mission partners and our off-base civilian community, and to build on the heritage that is The Chief’s Own.”


Following the wing activation in 2020, the unit held a series of assumptions of command at the group and squadron levels. Despite the challenges levied by the COVID-19 pandemic in allowing travel around the world, the wing continued to grow. More than 900 U.S. Air Force enlisted and commissioned Airmen are now assigned to the 11th Wing. More than 900 civilian positions were also transferred from the Navy to the Air Force to serve with the Air Force wing.


“There were a lot of careful planning actions laid by our Navy and Air Force higher headquarters to stand up the wing. What we could never have anticipated was finding ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic that forced us to be flexible with those plans and adjust to the challenge,” said Colonel Zuhlsdorf. “This team rose to meet that challenge and excelled. It’s remarkable what these teams have been able to accomplish.


“Throughout the year, we saw a lot of growth and further planning to bring the wing to the next level,” he added. “The next year for the wing, leading up to the October 2022 deadline to be fully operationally capable, will be transformational as the wing further establishes the right processes and procedures to operate as a high-functioning wing. I look forward to watching as that transformation unfolds.”


The installation has seen a number of transformations in purpose and missions. The land’s U.S. military history dates back to the early 1900s and was the military’s first airfield in the National Capital Region. Many Air Force legends, aerial pioneers, aerial and ground-based mission sets, and current and former presidents set foot on the approximately 1,000-acre plot of land. Though the airfield ceased fixed-wing operations in the 1960s, the base continued to house critical missions.


The 11th Wing was the host wing to Bolling Air Force Base from 1994 to 2005. Then, at the recommendation of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission, the base merged with Naval Support Facility Anacostia to become Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling on Oct. 1, 2010. At that time, it was decided the joint base would fall to the responsibility of the U.S. Navy. In 2019, planning actions began to transfer responsibility back to the Air Force.


“One decade after this became a joint base under the responsibility of the Navy, it’s been an honor to bring The Chief’s Own to its former grounds,” Colonel Zuhlsdorf said.