377 ABW leadership “moves the flag” to the 576 FLTS

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Karissa Dick
  • 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The 377th Air Base Wing command team temporarily relocated, also known as “moving the flag,” to the 576th Flight Test Squadron at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, from August 1-5, 2022.

To “move the flag,” Col. Jason Vattioni, 377th ABW commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Stephanie Cates, 377th ABW command chief, relocated the wing’s headquarters from Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, to the 576th FLTS, a geographically-separated unit in California. When “moving the flag,” the wing commander and command chief execute their duties from a different geographic location, allowing mission execution at both operating locations to continue unhindered.

 “Our physical offices were located within the same spaces as other activities within the squadron's headquarters building,” said Vattioni. “This allowed us to naturally spend time within the shared work spaces of a good portion of squadron teammates.  We also adjusted our shift schedules to match the preponderance of squadron members, as we moved in and out of crew rest.” 

“Lastly, by executing our calendars, as normal, we were able (when our calendars permitted) to hop in the car and organically visit with different squadron work centers across the installation, without disrupting their daily battle rhythm.”

In addition to conducting routine headquarter’s business throughout the week, Vattioni and Cates toured the 576th FLTS facilities, interacted with and recognized Airmen with coins, and observed preparations for an intercontinental ballistic missile test launch. Cates also visited with the United States Space Force installation’s Senior Enlisted Leader in order to discuss unit support and First Sergeant management.

Col. Christopher Cruise, 576th Flight Test Squadron Commander, reflects on the visit between the 377th Air Base Wing and the 576th Flight Test Squadron.

“Having Col. Vattioni and Chief Cates visit during a missile test launch week gave them the opportunity to see the squadron in action, better understand our mission, and interact with our distinguished visitors, Airmen, and teammates,” said Cruise. “Unlike most units at Kirtland, as a geographically-separated unit the command team doesn’t see our day-to-day operations. This visit allowed us to get to know [Col. Vattioni], understand who he is, and understand his agenda and how he can support our unit and its mission.”

Additional “move the flag” visits to the 576th FLTS are expected to be scheduled throughout the year.

”As with all Fighting Tigers in the 377th Air Base Wing, I remain impressed with the professionalism, pride, and proficiency with which our teammates execute our many missions across both geographic locations,” expressed Vattioni. “Few things are more important than what these professionals do, day-in and day-out and it is awe-inspiring. I am privileged to serve beside each and every one of them, at Kirtland and the 576th Flight Test Squadron.”