944 FW stands up maintenance group at Luke

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Tyler J. Bolken
  • 944th Fighter Wing

The 944th Fighter Wing reactivated one of its previously stood down maintenance units with the standup of the 944th Maintenance Group, the Hellions, during an assumption of command ceremony here, Feb. 10, 2018.

More than 400 members will eventually make up the newly organized group, forecasted to provide more than 1.1 million hours of maintenance production per year on F-16 and F-35 aircraft partnered with the 56th Maintenance Group. The team consists of Air Reserve Technicians and Traditional Reservists providing full and part-time maintenance production support. Several members of the local community in addition to friends, and family of the new group were present for the Saturday morning ceremony, orchestrated in a hangar between an F-16 and F-35.

Reactivating the group also meant the standup of the two squadrons that fall under the group, the 944th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the 944th Maintenance Squadron. Commanding the group is Col. Scott Briese. Lt. Col. Karwin Weaver will be commanding the aircraft maintenance squadron, and Maj. Erica Lowe will be commanding the maintenance squadron.

"This is an exciting day, we get to raise up three new flags today, which is awesome for the 944th,” said Col. Bryan Cook, 944th Fighter Wing commander.

The maintenance group initially formed in the early 1990’s and supported operations in Iraq and Afghanistan up until 2006 when the group stood down, explained Cook.

“Ten years, 11, months and 28 days ago was was a sad day,” said Cook. “The last F-16 left the Hellion ramp and we shut down and pulled down the flag from the maintenance group. We lost about 500 folks and the 944th shrunk.”

This addition to the 944th Fighter Wing now makes the wing’s association with the 56th Fighter Wing one of the largest associations in the Air Force, said Cook.

“The 944th Maintenance Group is back and it is back with fervor,” said Briese, who now will be leading the Hellions. “It could not be happening without a greater team of maintainers and leaders.”