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Brooks' last Air Force unit completes inactivation ceremony

by Joe N. Wiggins
311th Air Base Group Public Affairs

9/2/2011 - BROOKS CITY-BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- The Air Force ended nearly 95 years of service, research and training here Aug. 31, 2011, when the last unit inactivated in a ceremony.

The commander of the Air Force Materiel Command and commander of the 311th Air Base Group at Brooks led the ceremony in front of more than 200 civic leaders, elected officials and former and current employees of the base.

While the ceremony marked the end of the Air Force presence at Brooks, the comments were upbeat with a focus on the future.

"This isn't a funeral; it is a transition," said Gen. Donald J. Hoffman, commander of AFMC and the presiding officer at the ceremony. "And this has certainly been a smooth transition."

Col. Harry R. Kimberly III, the last commander at Brooks, noted the accomplishments of the base as well as the work required to close the installation, and he thanked those people involved for their work and dedication.

"Instead of focusing on what is no more, I propose we focus with pride on all that has taken place," Kimberly said. "To my fellow Airmen, service members, civilians and contractors, along with your predecessors who have served at Brooks: Your extraordinary contributions to our nation's warfighting ability and survivability have been historic."

While the military occupants of Brooks City-Base will end all activities Sept. 15, the base's tradition of service will continue as the city of San Antonio develops and leases additional key portions of the installation to educational and commercial interests.

"Brooks was part of the foundation of San Antonio, and now it will continue to play a vital role in our future," said Donald E. Jakeway, the president and CEO of the Brooks Development Authority. "Although I am not a part of the military, I certainly salute you for the great job you have completed."

The Air Force's impact on San Antonio and the nation through training and research was noted by the unit historian during remarks at the ceremony.

"Ultimately, our legacy is collectively having known that we served honorably as members of the 311th Air Base Group," said Rudy Purificato, the last Brooks historian. "Our service made a difference in terms of preserving and safeguarding lives during war and peace; and that is something that will never die or fade with time."

Other activities included a posting of colors, invocation, folding of the last U.S. flag to fly over the base by the Joint Base San Antonio Air Force Honor Guard, singing of the Air Force song, and presentation of gifts to key officials.

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