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History returns to the 940th Air Refueling Wing

Chief Master Sgt. John Erwin unveils mascot

Chief Master Sgt. Dan McCarthy(left), 940th Maintenance Squadron Flight Chief, and Chief Master Sgt. John Erwin, 940th MXS Superintendent, unveil the return of Pegasus Burro, “PEGBUR” at a ceremony here Jan 7. PEGBUR returned home from a foster home in Arizona where he was well cared for while the 940th Air Refueling Wing has been in conversion. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Denise Hauser)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, California --

PEGASUS BURRO, “PEGBUR,” returned to the 940th Air Refueling Wing at Beale Air Force Base Jan. 7.

PEGBUR belongs to the unit’s current flying squadron, the 314th Air Refueling Squadron.  He is their donkey, stuffed-animal mascot. He was rescued by now retired Boom Operator, Senior Master Sgt. Ron Dilorenzo from a throwing out a ways back when the unit disbanded during the Base Realignment and Closure in 2008.

Dilorenzo took him to Arizona and has kept him safe since then. Dilorenzo recently shipped PEGBUR to retired Chief Master Sgt. Kathy Primrose and her husband, who are local to the area here, because Dilorenzo said it was time PEGBUR be returned to his rightful home.

Primrose talked of the significance of the organization’s mascot.

“The central figure is a large powerful looking donkey, widely known among the Sacramento Valley residents of 1961 as PEGBUR, the Reserve Squadron’s parachuting mascot,” she said.

The name was partly taken from Pegasus, the mythical flying stallion in Greek mythology, and partly from Burro, the symbolic California Donkey. The burro was selected because of his well-known ability to carry on under adverse conditions. He symbolizes the strength and persistence of his squadron to deliver cargo intact, regardless of any obstacles.

“He emerged from the darkness into the dawn carrying his important load, which typified the night and day operations of the squadron,” said Primrose. “The green border represent the green hills and valley of our country over which he traveled.  The silver wings and the Air Force’s blue and gold identify as belonging to the unit.”

According to Primrose, the actual mascot was purchased in 1957 by then unit commander Col. Harry Mailey’s wife Elsie from the Nut Tree in Vacaville, Calif. She donated the stuffed animal to the unit.  From 1957 until 2008, PEGBUR served his duty with the flying squadron. He has been on many temporary duty assignments, he has traveled everywhere; and he was even airdropped out of a C-130 Hercules on a mission with the 314th Troop Carrier Squadron.

The 314th ARS originated from the 314th TRS that stood up here in November of 1943. The 314th TRS became part of the 349th Troop Carrier Group in 1946. It went through a couple of other iterations including the 349th Fighter Bomber Group, then became them became the 940th Troop Carrier Group in February of 1963.

In 1977 the unit evolved to begin performing Reserve air refueling missions world-wide. The 314th Air Refueling Squadron then became part of the 940th Operations Group in 1992. After the BRAC, the unit had other various missions until April of 2016 when the 314th ARS was brought back to Beale, and they awaited the return of PEGBUR.

“It’s great to be here today to capture this history that dates back to World War II,” said Col. Stephanie Williams, 940th ARW commander. “It reminds us of who we are and why we are here.”

The 314th ARS commander, Lt. Col. Roland Tsui, closed out the celebration of PEGBUR’s return by saying, “If you keep anything long enough, it comes back into style.”