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Group increases Wright-Patt footprint

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- How do you move a mission across the country without the Airmen you support everyday feeling any impact? The 77th Aeronautical Systems Group is intent on doing just that.

The decision to move the 77th from Brooks City-Base, San Antonio to Wright-Patterson was made by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure decision. At that time, the Group began planning for a seamless move of its mission to Ohio without missing a beat.

The 77 AESG is responsible for optimizing warfighter performance in all weapons systems through the development and acquisition of human systems applications, according to Col. Steve Gray, 77 AESG commander. Some of the wide range of systems the Group is developing include: improved ejection seats, uniforms, flame resistant combat gear, aircrew helmets, and aero-medical equipment. The Group's POW/MIA accountability laboratory, along with its unique aero-medical equipment and textile laboratories are also part of the move.

As a first step in moving the unit to Ohio, the 77 AESG created an Operating Location at Wright-Patterson. Initially staffed with a small core of military personnel, the 77 AESG recently received approval to move government civilian positions from Brooks City-Base to Wright-Patterson.

Currently, ten military members and two civilians are on board establishing an initial presence at Wright-Patterson. Colonel Gray expects to add 10-12 government civilian employees and at least 4 military members over the next three months. Then continue the operating location build-up over the next year. Ultimately, the group will have approximately 150 employees at Wright-Patterson by August 2010. As part of the move, two historic Wright-Patterson buildings are being renovated as the new home for the unit.

During the transition, working in separate locations brings several challenges.

"Key to implementing the move, while still meeting mission objectives is to transfer corporate knowledge from Brooks to Wright-Patterson," Colonel Gray said. "We are encouraging current employees to move with the unit, and we'll build-up the operating location as quickly as possible to minimize impact to our mission of fielding advanced systems for all Airmen."

In the meantime, the 77 AESG operating location is laying the groundwork to receive the group and will play a major role in transferring unique Air Force capabilities and technical expertise to Wright-Patterson AFB.