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Ceremony marks new structure for 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern)

  • Published
  • By Capt. Nathan Broshear
  • 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern)
On Friday, Airmen from 12th Air Force sheathed the guidons of several units and unfurled a new banner marking the command's transition from a traditional Numbered Air Force to an Air Force component organization with the core focus of supporting operations in Central, South America and the Caribbean.

Lt. Gen. Norman Seip, the commander, 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH), published Special Order GB-32 officially deactivating seven organizations and concurrently activating two new units.

"While it's never a good day to deactivate a group or a squadron, it is absolutely the right thing to do to better support the combatant commander, our sister services and our joint and coalition partners as we face an uncertain world with uncertain threats," said General Seip.

The deactivation, activation and redesignation of 12th AF (AFSOUTH) units are part of an Air Force wide effort implementing the Air Force Chief of Staff's direction to establish component organizations structured to operate and train every day in their wartime configuration. These new Air Force warfighting organizations are stood up to enable the effective command and control of air, space, and cyberspace forces to conduct missions across the spectrum of military operations. For 12th AF (AFSOUTH) Airmen, the transition to a C-NAF will assist the unit in supporting operations in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility.

During the inactivation portion of the ceremony, 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH) Airmen folded and encased seven unit flags for the last time. The flags served as symbols of unity, strength, sacrifice, history and accomplishments of their unit members.

"These flags may be retired and cased, but their accomplishments, their history, and their legacy live on," said Lt. Col. Mark Steves, the 612th Air Operations Group Director of Space Forces and the narrator during the ceremony.

"Today's reorganization will create a new component headquarters made up of an Air Force Forces (AFFOR), responsible to organize, train, equip and sustain our forces for in-theatre missions, along with a capable and focused Air and Space Operations Center responsible to the combatant commander for the operational level command and control of Air, Space and Cyberspace assets," said General Seip.

The 612th Air and Space Operations Center, serves as the "jewel" of 12th AF (AFSOUTH), the air and space component to U.S. Southern Command, and is the only continuously operational Falconer CAOC in the continental United States. It is one of five Falconer CAOC weapon systems used to support combatant commanders worldwide. The other Falconers are located in Southwest Asia, Europe, Korea and Hawaii.

Units involved in the ceremony include:

* 612th Air Operations Group redesignated the 612th Air and Space Operations Center

* 612th Combat Operation Squadron redesignated the 612th Combat Operations Division

* 612th Combat Plans Squadron redesignated the 612th Combat Plans Division

* 612th Air Intelligence Squadron redesignated the 612th Air Intelligence and Reconnaissance Division

* 612th Information Operations Flight renamed the 612th Information Operations Team, aligned under the 612th Air and Space Operations Center Strategy Division

* 612th Air Intelligence Group deactivated, reactivated as the 12th AF (AFSOUTH) A-2 Division

* 612th Air Support Squadron deactivated, staff absorbed into the 12th AF (AFSOUTH) A4/7 Divsion