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Andrews AFDW to be centerpiece of AFDW

By C. Todd Lopez

ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. (May 03, 2007) -- The Air Force District of Washington began its move to Andrews Air Force Base Monday, with the majority of the command staff making the transition to the new headquarters there.

Over the next six weeks, the remainder of the staff will follow, said Maj. Gen. Bob Smolen, AFDW commander.

Lt. Col. Michelle Ryan, Air Force District of Washington Commanders Action Group director; Maj. Gen. Bob Smolen, AFDW commander; Chief Master Sgt. Lewis E. Monroe III, AFDW command chief; and Col. J. Scott Chesnut, AFDW vice commander began work at Andrews Air Force Base Monday, after AFDW moved its headquarters there from Bolling Air Force Base.

"There will be a handful of people that will remain at Bolling, because they almost exclusively deal with things at Bolling, or people that regularly work at Bolling, but most of the staff will move to Andrews," he said.

That AFDW has about 300 "core" Airmen on its staff, but about 500 Airmen from the 844th Communications Group are included. The 844th CG, which provides communications and information support to Air Force National Capitol Region warfighters, will also move to Andrews Air Force Base.

General Smolen said the move is about strategically placing AFDW members to better serve the National Capitol Region.

"Philosophically, Bolling will be the more administrative of the two bases," he said. "Andrews, with its two flight lines and medical facilities, enables us to have a platform so if anything bad happens in downtown Washington, D.C., or in the metropolitan area, we would be a little bit away from that and be able to provide additional support."

Right now, AFDW, the Army's Military District of Washington, and the Naval District of Washington are all located in the downtown area. General Smolen said that amounted to putting all those resources in one basket.

"They are all within a homerun hit of the new baseball stadium," he said. "If something bad happened, we'd all be stuck right there in the middle. This move affords us the opportunity to really expand out -- we have got some space here. With BRAC, and with the force relocation from some of the people downtown, we're going to robust all of Andrews AFB, and hopefully it will be our centerpiece."

The AFDW acts as the single voice for the Air Force within the National Capitol Region. Together with the Military District of Washington and the Naval District of Washington, AFDW provides for the defense of the nation's capital, in addition to providing military support in the Washington, D.C., area when needed.