140th Wing bids final farewell to 200th Airlift Squadron
By Staff Sgt. Michelle Alvarez-Rea, 140th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 16, 2018
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, the Colorado National Guard, veterans, and their families joined together for a formal deactivation ceremony of the 200th Airlift Squadron, Oct. 14, at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colorado.
Until June 2018, the 200th AS was a geographically separated unit under the 140th Wing, Colorado Air National Guard.
The 200th AS was established in 1946 with the C-47 Skytrain, the original “Flintstone Airlines.” Over the years the Squadron transitioned through various aircraft to include the C-57 Skymaster, C-131 Samaritan, Cessna 0-2 Skymaster, Boeing T-43A, C-26B Metroliner and most recently, the C-21 A Learjet.
The 200th AS mission evolved and grew to keep up with the demands of the Air Force and the immediate needs of the warfighter. After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the squadron moved from Buckley Air Force Base to Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, where it began a new mission as target aircraft for NORAD air defense exercises. This was in addition to its existing mission providing and securing priority aircraft for the highest level of military and civilian leaders, as well as classified cargo.
Ten years later, that mission expanded again, and in a true demonstration of the Total Force concept, an inter-fly agreement with the active-duty Air Force’s 311th Airlift Squadron was born, allowing the two squadrons to share jets, pilots and deployments.
Since then, the squadron and its members have supported disaster relief efforts for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, humanitarian relief in Haiti, and operations for Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in its ongoing support of the active duty in-theater mission.
Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael Loh, Adjutant General of the Colorado National Guard stated during a May 2018 media interview, "The 200th is the most efficient and effective operational support airlift squadron in the Air Force, delivering great results proven by the fact that the 200th has won the Joint Operational Support Airlift Center small unit award seven years in a row.”
Despite their numerous accomplishments and awards, the Pentagon announced in January that the 30-person unit described as “tight knit” by its members, would be dissolved.
"Despite a rich history, and countless accolades, the Air Force decided to consolidate assets and deactivated our unit” said Brig. Gen. Floyd Dunstan, Assistant Adjutant General-Air. “The 200 AS Bobcats will now hold an esteemed part of our history.”
On May 31, members of the 200th AS flew their final mission in preparation of its official cease of operations in June and the subsequent reallocation of its Learjets to other bases across the country.
“The unit meant a lot to me personally, it meant a lot to our community, to the state of Colorado and to the nation. It’s sad to see the end of an era” said Steve Campbell, retired squadron technician, during an interview with KOAA News, May 31.
"Our Colorado National Guard members, veterans, and their families embody Colorado's spirit of service," Hickenlooper said. "We owe them much appreciation as they have faithfully served our state and nation through disaster, crisis and conflict."