By 1st Lt. Kali L. Gradishar
11th Wing Public Affairs
The 11th Wing – The Chief’s Own returned to Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in an activation and assumption-of-command ceremony June 12 at the Bolling Club on base.
Air Force Col. Mike Zuhlsdorf, also the JBAB installation commander, assumed command of the wing. Zuhlsdorf was previously the vice commander of the installation and assumed command from Navy Capt. Jose Rodriguez in a June 11 ceremony.
The base will remain under Navy control until Oct. 1. Between now and the end of the fiscal year, the 11th Wing will prepare to accept responsibility as the host unit to the installation overseeing its own ceremonial honors mission in addition to supporting approximately 70 mission partners.
“What an exciting time to be a part of the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling family,” said Zuhlsdorf. “I am grateful for this opportunity to lead our team through this historic change. To play a direct role in ensuring the critical mission sets of our United States Air Force Band and Honor Guard is incredible. I am also looking forward to helping stand up the rest of the new wing, which is designed to provide the necessary force protection, installation planning, and personnel support to guarantee the mission readiness of both our team and our mission partners.”
Maj. Gen. Ricky Rupp, Air Force District of Washington commander, presided over the activation and assumption-of-command ceremony. AFDW, a direct-reporting unit to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, will be the higher headquarters unit to the 11th Wing, playing a role similar to that of a major command.
“I am so proud of the work our Air Force transition team and their Navy counterparts have put into this transition. Their hard work will ensure there is a smooth transition from the Navy back to the Air Force,” said Rupp.
“JBAB remains a strategic asset and partner to the Department of Defense and NCR community. I am more than confident that Colonel Zuhlsdorf’s leadership will bring the base smoothly through this transition and will put it on a path toward continued success. We have put the right Airmen in the right positions to ensure the wing is ready to take on installation host responsibility this October,” he added. “AFDW will provide top-notch support and guidance to Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.”
The 11th Wing at JBAB will join the recently activated 316th Wing at Joint Base Andrews as one of two subordinate wings to AFDW. The 316th Wing, previously the host wing of Andrews Air Force Base from 2006 to 2010, was activated to allow the 11th Wing to return home to JBAB. AFDW also supports Air Force Elements worldwide.
The lineage of the 11th Wing designator can be traced back to Col. Raynal C. Bolling, founder and commander of the First Aero Company in 1915 and the namesake for Bolling Air Force Base. The 11th Wing resided on Bolling Air Force Base from 1994 to 2005 as the host wing to the installation and a direct-reporting unit to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force. It was during this period that the wing adopted the nickname of “The Chief’s Own.”
Following the recommendations of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission, the base merged with Naval Support Facility Anacostia on Oct. 1, 2010, and became a joint base under Navy responsibility.
“There is so much history and legacy for both the 11th Wing – ‘The Chief’s Own’ – and our installation,” said Zuhlsdorf. “The heritage that is Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling is over 100 years in our military history, largely due to the unique geographic location within our National Capital Region.
“I am excited to build upon the relationships the Navy has started with our base mission partners and our Washington D.C. and National Capital Region communities. With our strategic location in the D.C. area, our own unique wing ceremonial and support missions, and the unique mission sets of our partners, we truly are ‘The Capital’s Cornerstone,’” he added. “Readiness, Partnerships, and Heritage are here to stay!”
As new 11th Wing members continue to arrive at JBAB, they are charged with developing their units from the ground up and bringing each to operational capability by Oct. 1. That development is expected to continue until Oct. 1, 2022, when the wing is expected to reach full operational capability.