123rd Communications Flight re-designated as squadron

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Chloe Ochs
  • 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Communications Flight was publicly re-designated a squadron during a ceremony here Feb. 11, following it’s official re-classification in October.

Col. Shawn Keller, 123rd Mission Support Group commander, described how manpower affected the organizational change.

“The Air Force delineates a flight from a squadron based on the number of personnel
found, not the mission that the unit performs,” Keller said. “Unlike the vast majority of combat units in the Air National Guard, until recently, the number of personnel assigned to the 123rd Communications Flight hovered right below the magic number that would make them a squadron.

“Make no mistake, the critical business of running our base network, delivering mobile communication capabilities both at home and abroad, and ensuring the highest levels of cybersecurity that keep our information safe from countless threats is the same regardless of the name,” Keller told the audience.

The change stems from an effort to align all Air National Guard communication units with the Air Force’s Force Generation model.

The Air Force defines AFFORGEN as a new deployment model that establishes a more structured and predictable cycle to better prepare Airmen for distributed, high-end combat operations, allowing focused time for individual and unit training, and for mission certification. The new model also seeks to give joint leaders a more accurate picture of Air Force readiness and how the service can better support joint operations while maintaining that readiness.

Lt. Col. Bryan Keating, 123rd Communications Squadron commander, reinforced Keller’s declaration that the title change, while significant, will not bring about much change to the newly designated squadron.

“We've always been hovering just below the threshold [of personnel required for a squadron],” Keating said during the ceremony, held at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base. “We do have four new people coming on the books, called a Mission Defense Team, who will be focusing on tactical and cyber warfare. Those four positions would have put us over anyway.”

Keller ended the ceremony by applauding the continued excellence displayed by the 123rd Communications Squadron.

“I want to say congratulations on this significant milestone in your unit’s history,” Keller said. “Going from flight to squadron may change your perception of capabilities, but all of us here celebrating with you today know in our hearts the 123rd Comm team has been there all along. Again, congratulations, and thanks for all you do.”