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623rd ACF transitions to 623rd ACS

U.S. Air Force Col. David Mineau, 18th Operations Group commander, presents the new 623rd Aircraft Control Squadron guidon to Lt. Col. Daniel Biehl, 623 ACS commander, during a re-designation ceremony April 15, 2016, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The 623rd Air Control Flight “Lightsword” transitioned back into a squadron for the first time in more than 20 years at 4:23 p.m. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephen G. Eigel)

U.S. Air Force Col. David Mineau, 18th Operations Group commander, presents the new 623rd Aircraft Control Squadron guidon to Lt. Col. Daniel Biehl, 623 ACS commander, during a re-designation ceremony April 15, 2016, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The 623rd Air Control Flight “Lightsword” transitioned back into a squadron for the first time in more than 20 years at 4:23 p.m. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephen G. Eigel)

Members of the 623rd Aircraft Control Squadron present the squadron’s first salute to Lt. Col. Daniel Biehl, 623 ACS commander, during a re-designation ceremony April 15, 2016, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The squadron is getting more Airmen with the introduction of the Sector Interface Control Cell. This increase will take their flight of 24 to a squadron of 36. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephen G. Eigel)

Members of the 623rd Aircraft Control Squadron present the squadron’s first salute to Lt. Col. Daniel Biehl, 623 ACS commander, during a re-designation ceremony April 15, 2016, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The squadron is getting more Airmen with the introduction of the Sector Interface Control Cell. This increase will take their flight of 24 to a squadron of 36. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephen G. Eigel)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The 623rd Air Control Flight "Lightsword" transitioned back into a squadron for the first time in more than 20 years at 4:23 p.m. April 15, 2016.

They re-organized as a squadron due to the increase in manning and their ever evolving mission.

"We are getting more Airmen with the introduction of the Sector Interface Control Cell," said Capt. Joshua Albritton, 623rd ACF assistant director of operations. "This increase will take our flight of 24 to a squadron of 36."

"Lightsword" traces its Origins to the 305th Fighter Control Squadron, organized in March 1943, at Bradley Field, Connecticut. After several relocations within the United States, the unit moved to Okinawa in September 1945, and was headquartered at Camp Bishigawa with radar stations in three locations.

They were then re-designated the 623d Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron in July 1946.

The squadron assumed air direction and control duties over the next several years as well as deploying to South Korea in January 1968, in support of Operation Combat Fox, but later reassumed responsibility for the air defense of Okinawa in July 1973 at the Naha Air Base.

"It is a very important transition for us," Lt. Col. Daniel Biehl, 623 ACS commander said. "We have not been a squadron since 1994."

They reactivated in April 1983, as the 623rd Tactical Control Squadron with the mission of providing an operationally ready Forward Air Control Post for worldwide employment.

In February 1987, the 623rd TCS reorganized and the 81st TCF became a separate organization. The unit subsequently underwent another name change in April 1992, and became the 623d Air Control Squadron with two detachments in Japan.

In August 1994, the two detachments became separate flights under the objective wing reorganization. Consequently the 623d Air Control Squadron at Kadena Air Base was re-designated the 623d Air Control Flight.

"Our current role is to be the liaison between the United States Air Force and Japan Air Self-defense Force at the Naha Air Defense Control Center," said Albritton. "We integrate on Large Force Exercises as well as go to the Naha DC two to three times a week and support air missions from their consoles while having a team there daily for any coordination."

The 623rd ACS has been on Okinawa longer than any other unit and transitioning back into a squadron is only another testament to their importance in the defense of our host nation Japan and the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.