One of the main units that operates at MacDill Air Force Base celebrated its 100th anniversary Monday. It also got a new name.
The 6th Air Mobility Wing has been around since before the Air Force separated from the Army to become its own branch of the military. It came to MacDill in the 1990’s and will now be called the 6th Air Refueling Wing.
Base commander Col. Steve Snelson said the new name reflects a shift in the wing's responsibilities.
At a ceremony on Monday, Snelson inactivated the 310th Airlift Squadron, a unit within the wing that flies planes which transport distinguished visitors, including political leaders and high-ranking military officers.
Now, Snelson said the 6th will focus on its other mission -- operating 24 KC-135’s, aircraft he describes as "flying gas stations."
"They can go anywhere in the world to refuel just about any imaginable cargo and fighter plane that's out there, not just American, but for all of our allies and our partner nations,” he said. “When they need help, they rely on our air refuelers."
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor helped announce the name change by reading a proclamation during Monday’s ceremony.
“MacDill Air Force Base is critical to our community,” she said. “We are so thankful that they are here and we have such a wonderful working relationship with everyone on MacDill Air Force Base."
The 6th Air Refueling Wing will continue to share the space at MacDill with U.S. Central Command and Special Operations Command. And Col. Snelson said no matter what units are at the base, MacDill will remain a strong presence in the Tampa Bay area.