Last active-duty squadron changes comment

June 2, 2008 2:29:03 PM PDT
The Air Force says a decorated aircraft squadron has changed commanders at its North Carolina base.

A Pope Air Force Base spokesman said a change of command ceremony was held Monday for the 2nd Airlift Squadron. Lt. Col. Howard Ward handed over command to Lt. Col. Leslie Smith.

The squadron is the last active-duty Air Force flying unit to be based at Pope, which will become an Army airfield after base realignment changes occur by 2011. The changes were mandated by a commission authorized by Congress.

The squadron is known by the nickname "The Deuce" and flies C-130 transport aircraft used to haul cargo and drop parachute troops. The squadron won an award for safely flying four U.S. senators out of Baghdad while under fire in August.