Fort Hood became home base for one of the first ever operation support squadrons of the United States Air Force. The 803rd Operation Support Squadron officially activated Friday at the Spirit of Fort Hood Chapel, as its sister squadron, the 818th Operation Support Squadron was activated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The two squadrons are the first of their kind for the Tactical Air Control Party community.
Commanded by Lt. Col. Samuel McKinsey, the unit underwent a restructuring, which inactivated the 712th Air Support Operations Squadron and reflagged it as the 803rd OSS.
“Inactivating the 712th gives us time to reflect on what heritage really is and what heritage really means,” McKinsey said, reflecting on history. “The foundation of Air Force heritage is found in its people. It’s found in our actions, it’s found in our service to our great country – it was built by the men and women in uniform.”
The mission of the two operation support squadrons will be to prepare the tactical air control party weapons system, along with providing Army weather support in integrating, planning, training and equipping for joint, multi-domain, combat operations.
Before the restructuring, the Air Force didn’t have operation support squadrons and had to rely on support bases. McKinsey explained that the restructuring will create indigenous support for all the squadrons within the 3rd Air Support Operations Group.
Reflecting on the 712th ASOS’s 53-year history, Col. Charles Drouillard, commander of 3rd ASOG, encouraged the 36 Airmen within the unit to take this moment and make something great out of it.
“Now is the time for history to start, one that will reflect a unit that met a challenge and exceeded in its execution,” Drouillard said. “A chance to build a legacy that other Airmen will long to be part of and continue to add to. To create a squadron with a unique, coveted history that other units will use as a goal to strive for.”
After furling the colors of the 712th ASOS and then unfurling the colors for the 803rd OSS, McKinsey accepting the unit colors from Drouillard and pledged to command the 803rd OSS to the best of his ability, while always remembering the unit’s heritage.
“Our heritage is to fly, our heritage is to fight and our heritage is to win,” McKinsey concluded.