2nd Air Force officially activates group
By 2nd Lt. Nick Plante, 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 01, 2007
KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Second Air Force leaders reserved space in history April 27 by officially activating a unit that's been performing a unique and vital mission for almost a year.
Under authority of Air Force headquarters, the 602nd Training Group-Provisional was activated, with Col. Mark McClelland as commander.
The 602nd TRG-P unofficially operated as the 2nd Expeditionary Mission Support Group, carrying out the same command and control mission it continues to provide.
The group's primary mission is to provide positive command and control for Airmen undergoing Army combat skills training prior to being assigned to perform Army missions.
"It is paramount we provide this Air Force command structure to take care of the operational and administrative needs of our Airmen while attending Army training," Colonel McClelland said.
The 602nd TRG-P has seven detachments, one at each Army training location.
"Our detachments have eyes on the training activities that occur; we contact home units to correct any equipment or document shortfalls that individual Airmen may have when they report for training. We deal directly with local Army structure to coordinate billeting messing, transportation and other issues for trainees," Colonel McClelland said.
"We report and deal with issues such as sick call and injuries, Red Cross notifications, emergency leave, safety issues, as well as disciplinary issues.
"In other words we're there to provide a 'blue lifeline' throughout in-lieu-of training," he said.
Maj. Gen. Mike Gould, 2nd Air Force commander, was the presiding officer at the activation ceremony. He explained the origins of the unit's mission and thanked Colonel McClelland and all the members of 2nd Air Force.
"You've made it happen during the past year without any authorities, authorizations or anything official," he said. "You've just done it, and your work has made a tremendous impact on all the Airmen who have undergone ILO training.
"Thank you. So, let's make it official," General Gould concluded.
After assuming command of the group, Colonel McClelland expressed his thoughts.
"To my knowledge, there's never been any unit established to do this kind of mission. We are very proud to have our role in ensuring our Airmen are given all they can have during the time they're under my command," he said.
"It's difficult for our Air Force men and women to go through unfamiliar training for possible direct combat engagement," the colonel continued. "The 602nd TRG-P has the mission to make the transition as painless as possible, while at the same time ensuring they have all the combat skills they need to go forward, to do the job and come back home to the Air Force."