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931st ARW reactivates 905th ARS

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Abigail Klein
  • 931st Air Refueling Wing

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. — In an historic ceremony, Team McConnell reactivated a squadron that lay dormant for almost ten years.

The 931st Air Refueling Wing reactivated the 905th Air Refueling Squadron in an official ceremony at Hangar 1107 here, May 4, 2019. This is one of the first squadrons in the Air Force dedicated to the KC-46A Pegasus.

The 905th ARS has roots dating back to World War II. The predecessor of the 905th ARS was the 505th Bombardment Squadron.  It was activated in 1942 and assigned to the 346th Bombardment Group, flying B-24 Liberators. It was then deactivated 1 April 1944.  In 1985, the 505 BS was consolidated with the 905 ARS. The consolidation attached the lineage and honors of the 505 BS to the 905 ARS.

In 1959, the Air Force Assigned the 905th ARS to Strategic Air Command, and was organized at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D.  The 905th ARS was the first Air Force flying unit to be assigned to Grand Forks, and it received its first KC-135 Stratotanker in 1960.  The unit stayed at Grand Forks until it was deactivated in 2010.

The last commander of the 905th ARS, retired Col. Noel Bradford, took part in the ceremony. Bradford presented the guidon to Col. Phil Heseltine, 931st ARW commander, who then unfurled it.

Heseltine, presided over the ceremony. He expressed his optimism to the Airmen and their families in attendance.  He also expressed his confidence in Lt. Col. Eric Rivero, McConnell’s first commander of the 905th ARS.

“This is an opportunity for us to make a lasting difference,” he said. “The bar is set high for you, but as I said before, it’s the right Airman, in the right squadron, at the right time.”

Rivero, who joined the 18th Air Refueling Squadron a year ago after leaving active duty, also expressed his hopes for the future of his new squadron at Team McConnell.

“I’m sad to be leaving the 18th, but I’m going to continue to model it in the 905th,” he said. “I’m honored to be part of the 905th, and humbled to be its commander.”

The reactivation of the 905th ARS is part of the 931st ARW’s continued growth at McConnell to facilitate the KC-46A Pegasus. It is the final of three operations squadrons added to McConnell since the 931 ARW became a wing in 2016.  It follows the standup of both the 931st Operations Group and the 924th Air Refueling Squadron in 2017.

The 905th ARS will be dedicated to the KC-46A, which will eventually replace the KC-135 Stratotanker. The KC-46 will provide aerial refueling to Air Force, joint and partner nation aircraft. McConnell has already received five KC-46s this year, and will eventually end up with a fleet of 34.