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Members of the 31st Fighter Wing's 603rd Air Control Squadron salute the colors during the beginning of the unit's inactivation ceremony on Aug. 29, 2013, at Aviano Air Base, Italy.

Members of the 31st Fighter Wing's 603rd Air Control Squadron salute the colors during the beginning of the unit's inactivation ceremony on Aug. 29, 2013, at Aviano Air Base, Italy. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)

Members of the 31st Fighter Wing's 603rd Air Control Squadron salute the colors during the beginning of the unit's inactivation ceremony on Aug. 29, 2013, at Aviano Air Base, Italy.

Members of the 31st Fighter Wing's 603rd Air Control Squadron salute the colors during the beginning of the unit's inactivation ceremony on Aug. 29, 2013, at Aviano Air Base, Italy. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)

Lt. Col. Stephen V. Carocci, commander of the 603rd Air Control Squadron, speaks about a few of the sacrifices endured and accomplishments achieved by 603rd servicemembers prior to casing the unit guidon on Aug. 29, 2013, during the 603rd's inactivation ceremony at Aviano Air Base, Italy.

Lt. Col. Stephen V. Carocci, commander of the 603rd Air Control Squadron, speaks about a few of the sacrifices endured and accomplishments achieved by 603rd servicemembers prior to casing the unit guidon on Aug. 29, 2013, during the 603rd's inactivation ceremony at Aviano Air Base, Italy. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)

Col. Anthony D. Abernathy, left, commander of the 31st Fighter Wing's Operation Group, and Lt. Col. Stephen V. Carocci, commander of the 603rd Air Control Squadron, case the 603rd's guidon on Aug. 29, 2013, during an inactivation ceremony at Aviano Air Base, Italy.

Col. Anthony D. Abernathy, left, commander of the 31st Fighter Wing's Operation Group, and Lt. Col. Stephen V. Carocci, commander of the 603rd Air Control Squadron, case the 603rd's guidon on Aug. 29, 2013, during an inactivation ceremony at Aviano Air Base, Italy. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)

Members of the 603rd Air Control Squadron stand at attention following the casing of the colors on Aug. 29, 2013, during the unit's inactivation ceremony at Aviano Air Base, Italy.

Members of the 603rd Air Control Squadron stand at attention following the casing of the colors on Aug. 29, 2013, during the unit's inactivation ceremony at Aviano Air Base, Italy. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)

AVIANO, Italy — The commander of the 603rd Air Control Squadron knew when he took control of the unit nearly two years ago that this day would come – the fourth, and perhaps final, inactivation of the unit.

Lt. Col. Stephen V. Carocci had two missions to concentrate on when he took command: to deploy the 603rd downrange in support of ground operations, and to prepare the unit for inactivation.

Carocci followed through on both missions. The 603rd returned home from deployment in January and, on Thursday, it conducted an inactivation ceremony at Aviano Air Base.

Master Sgt. Anthony Porterfield held the unit’s colors front and center on a stage in one of the 603rd’s maintenance bays, while 25 of the unit’s airmen stood at attention as Carocci and Col. Anthony D. Abernathy, commander of the 31st Fighter Wing Operations Group, cased the unit’s colors. The colors will be packed up and sent to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

duhr.jason@stripes.com


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