SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – A virtual transition ceremony officially transferred the 532nd Training Squadron at Vandenberg AFB, California, to the 82nd Training Group here on Dec. 7, 2020, marking the final stage of a process that began months ago.
Brig. Gen. Kenyon Bell, 82nd Training Wing commander, officiated the virtual ceremony, which included the 82nd TRG, 381st TRG at Vandenberg, and the 532nd TRS.
“We originally planned to travel west to commemorate this event but we’ve had to adjust under the COVID environment,” Bell said. “This is one of the wonderful ways we stay connected.”
Upon changing the squadron’s guidon, the 532nd TRS officially realigned under the 82nd TRG.
“This is not a change of mission, just a realignment. Your task continues to remain the same as you move under the 82nd Training Group,” Bell said. “So continue training in excellence as you were before and we look forward to maintaining the proud tradition of growing missile maintainers and operators out there at Vandenberg.”
Col. John Lofton III, 82nd TRG commander, remarked on the significance of the realignment.
“The 82nd Training Group’s motto was ‘airpower starts here,’ and now I can proudly say that all power starts here,” he said. “Two thirds of America’s nuclear capability foundationally starts at the 82nd Training Group.”
The 532nd TRS, under command of Lt. Col. Mary Yelnicker, is the second squadron in the 82nd TRG family that is located in a different location than Sheppard AFB. The 359th TRS at Eglin AFB, Florida, conducts F-35 maintenance training for the Air Force, Navy and Marines.
The 381st TRG was home to missile maintenance training for officers and enlisted personnel. The group and the 532nd Training Squadron were administratively transferred from 2nd Air Force and realigned under the 82nd TRW in July 2020.
The move was a logical one given Sheppard’s history. The Air Force’s missile maintenance training program began at Sheppard in the late 1950s and continued into the early 1980s before it was moved to Vandenberg.