The Colorado Air National Guard’s 200th Airlift Squadron flew its final mission Wednesday. The Department of Defense announced plans in January to dissolve the 30 person unit by the end of this month.
Congressman Doug Lamborn and Governor John Hickenlooper both tried to spare the squadron, but they were unsuccessful.
Pilots Lance McDowell and Steve Campbell who both work for commercial airlines but had recently retired from the squadron. The men tell News 5 it’s a tight-knit unit.
"I think sad and disappointed for the families that are there, for the Colorado Air National Guard, I think it’s an asset that we’re losing," McDowell said.
"The unit meant a lot to me personally," added Campbell. "It meant a lot to our community, to the state of Colorado and to the nation. It’s sad to see to see the end of an era."
The 200th was part of the military’s Joint Operations Support Airlift Center. Their missions consist of executive flights for high ranking military officers and members of Congress, as well as transporting secure cargo and training flights to test air defense systems.
The hard of the personnel who made up the squadron earned them Unit of the Year for past seven years. The squadron flew and maintained two Learjet 21C. Those planes have since been relocated to other bases around the country.