Commander: How history shapes our future

  • Published
  • By Maj. Stephani Schafer
  • 94th Airlift Wing

The wing’s first in-person commander’s call since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, was hosted by Col. Carl Magnusson, 94th Airlift Wing commander, Nov. 5 and 6.

Each of the three sessions began with a history lesson of the wing.

“This isn’t going to be your everyday, run-of-the-mill commander’s call,” he said. “Well, actually I don’t know what a normal commander’s call is because I slept through most of them. But we’re going to get back to our roots. We’re going to learn our history. We’re going to learn where we came from.”

In the winter of 1942, the 94th Bomb Group was in the midst of flight training, preparing for a deployment to England the following spring. From May 1943 until April 1945 the 94th Bomb Group would go on to fly nearly 325 missions across Europe, dropping more than 18,000 pounds of munitions and losing 153 aircraft and countless air crew.

During these missions, it was not uncommon for bomb groups departing England to fly formations of hundreds or even thousands of aircraft. To ensure pilots knew which formation to join each bomb group was given its own unique tail marking. The 4th Bomb Wing, under which the 94th Bomb Group fell, was assigned the square, with the 94th Bomb Group being assigned the letter “A”. Thus, the “Square-A” designator for the 94th Bomb Group was born.

“The 94th [Bomb Group] – the ‘Square-A’ – are heroes. They did what they had to do to get the mission done. And the men and women in this wing today embody that legacy of heroism,” Magnusson told the wing. “Square-A was in Europe when our allies needed us most. And we will be there in the Indo-Pacific – or wherever else our partners and allies need us – in the future.”

The commander also highlighted some of the larger events the wing has tackled during the past year. These events include a Unit Effectiveness Inspection and multiple readiness exercises, to name.

He foot-stomped the importance of readiness, indicating the wing will participate in both on- and off-station readiness exercises throughout 2023.

Magnusson also addressed the challenges that come along with being a Reserve Airman and noted the importance of the Guard and Reserve to the Air Force’s mission.

“You are multi-capable Airmen. Each and every one of you brings skills and knowledge that the active duty Air Force can’t compete with. You are not only experts in your civilian industry, but you bring that knowledge and experience to this job and use it to make the Air Force better, more innovative and more well-rounded.”

He concluded by addressing his priorities as wing commander – transparency, credibility and camaraderie. The format of his commander’s calls encouraged Airmen to ask questions throughout and provide feedback in real-time.

“I can’t do my job as a leader unless I hear from you,” Magnusson told the audience. “Tell me what you need fixed. Tell me what is on your mind. Tell me how you want me to communicate with you. The questions you have submitted during these sessions are being compiled and answered as we speak. You will get a response on each and every one – I owe you that."