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Airmen at Barksdale AFB, La., and members of the local community gathered to bid farewell to the last three A-10 ground-attack airplanes operating there with Air Force Reserve Command's 917th Fighter Group, according to a base release. Their late-June departure marked the beginning of the end for the group, which is slated for inactivation in late September. "While today is somewhat sad as we are going to fly the last Barksdale A-10s to their new home, today really is about celebrating the impact of the 917th," said Col. John Breazeale, the group's commander, in the release on June 24, the day the airplanes left. The unit relinquished its A-10s as part of the Air Force's Fiscal 2013 force structure changes. Despite Barksdale losing its A-10s, Breazeale said he's optimistic looking ahead. "I am excited about the future of Reserve operations at Barksdale and look forward to bringing a number of 917th FG members on board as we continue to define the future of B-52 operations across the enterprise," he said. AFRC's 307th Bomb Wing operates the Air Force's sole B-52 schoolhouse at Barksdale and supports the B-52 operations of the base's Active Duty 2nd BW. (Barksdale report by SSgt. Katherine Holt)