19th Air Force inactivates, Maj. Gen. Solo retires
by Bekah Clark
19th Air Force Public Affairs
7/13/2012 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Nineteenth Air Force stood down in an inactivation ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, yesterday after more than 19 years of managing flying training for all of Air Education and Training command.
During the ceremony, Maj. Gen. Mark Solo, 19th AF commander, joined Gen. Edward Rice, AETC commander, in furling and casing the 19th Air Force flag, marking Solo's relinquishment of command.
Rice lauded Solo and the men and women of 19th Air Force for their role in ensuring a smooth transition of authorities from 19th AF to AETC while still executing the daily mission.
'In the two years of General Solo's command, they've done much more than prepare for the inactivation,' Rice said. 'Nineteenth Air Force led the stand up of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter school house and the Air Force's only undergraduate remotely piloted aircraft training program for pilots and sensor operators. The unit also activated student squadrons, streamlining the administrative control of the nearly 1,400 student pilots who begin training each year.'
'The team did all this while maintaining its day-to-day flying training missions, which accounts for 47 percent of the Air Force's total flying hour program,' Rice said.
Following his remarks, Rice presented Solo and 19th Air Force with the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for their accomplishments between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2011.
Echoing Rice's pride in 19th AF's accomplishments, Solo said that what he was most proud of was that their mission of a successful stand down had been accomplished.
'When I took command of 19th Air Force two years ago, I knew that I was coming to Randolph with the goal of closing down the unit and ensuring a seamless transition of our many operations directly into AETC,' said Solo. 'With careful planning, coordination, and herculean efforts from the men and women at the wings, 19th Air Force, and AETC, I am confident that we have achieved our goal.'
'Nothing pleases me more than knowing that at each of our units, our Airmen will wake up tomorrow morning and go about their business as usual, training world-class aircrews, combat systems officers, and air battle managers to sustain the combat capability of the United States Air Force, our sister services, and our allies,' he said.
The stand down of 19th AF is a part of Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley's 2011 call for the inactivation of three numbered air forces and the consolidation of their duties to other units. In addition to the inactivation of 19th Air Force, 13th Air Force at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii will inactivate in September. 17th Air Force at Ramstein Air Base, Germany inactivated earlier this year.
The inactivation also serves as Solo's final Air Force career accomplishment; the general retires today after more than three decades of service.
'As I reflect back on over 33 years of service in our Air Force, I am reminded of the many dedicated Officers, NCOs, Airmen, and civilians who have molded my career and enriched our lives,' said Solo.
'I have watched our Air Force go through many changes over the years but the resilience and determination of our Airmen have sealed our reputation as the most respected Air Force in history,' he said.
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