New Expeditionary Air Support Group Stands Up

The commander of 9th Air Force/Air Forces Central, Lt. Gen. Gary North, on March 30 placed a new guidon in the hands of Col. James Thomas as the first commander of the newly formed 504th Expeditionary Air Support Operations Group, based at Bagram AB, Afghanistan. The new group comprises more than 125 air liaison officers and tactical air control party and combat weather specialists who serve in three squadrons throughout Afghanistan. “I’ve spent the last year and a half spreading the gospel about air-to-ground integration and now I get to put all the doctrine I’ve learned to work,” said Thomas, who last worked with the Army Battle Command Training Program at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan. The new group has taken the heritage of the 504th Tactical Air Support Group deactivated in 1972. During the ceremony at Bagram, North explained the need for the new group, “As our mission roles have increased, it became obvious to me and our leadership that we needed to align an ASOG to Afghanistan” to manage the three squadrons that North said are critical to ongoing air-ground operations. (Bagram report by SSgt. Jason Lake)