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39th ABW Embraces New Mascot

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- After two years of service the 39th Air Base Wing mascot, the Hodja, is riding off into the sunset and a new, 'larger than life' mascot, the Titan, is taking his place.

Wing leadership made the decision to change the mascot to one that better reflected the wings change to combat operations.

The new mascot, Titan, reflects powerful Greek mythological beings, and the chant "larger than life" represents how the 39th ABW is the all-encompassing tip of the spear in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

"Our mission changed; the Hodja was a great mascot for who we were before," said Col. Mark Anarumo, 39th ABW vice commander. "It was a funny mascot. Something we could rally around that was very culturally appropriate. We wanted something a little more aggressive and more warrior centric."

A wing-wide contest was held soliciting ideas from Incirlik Airmen, and more than 120 ideas were brought to light and carefully considered.

"We got pages upon pages of suggestions, it was wonderful to see that level of participation,"Anarumo said. "Titan was suggested by about a dozen people."

Titan was chosen for its strong symbolism and relevancy to the 39th ABW mission and involvement in OIR.

"It gave us what we thought was the best potential to combine offensive operations with defensive operations," Anarumo said. "It's a large menacing creature who is capable of great defense and great offense. We also could take Titan as the main mascot and let sub organizations choose a mythological Titan that best identifies with their mission. It gave us a real wide breadth of potential for other mascots."

Each individual part of the mascot; the shield, sword, lightning bolts and motto has symbolism toward the 39th ABW mission. The shield, symbolizing Incilrik AB main mission, is in the Titans right arm.

"The Titan has the shield is his right arm," Anarumo said. "Our primary mission for the wing is to secure NATO's southern flank. So the defensive symbol is on the right arm by design. Also in formations of warriors your strongest warrior would always be on the right. Of course the shield has the 39th Air Base Wing crest on it because that's us."

The Titan himself is very large in stature, a reason why the Titan was chosen for symbolic value to the 39th ABW.

"The weapon in his left hand is a very traditional Turkish blade which symbolizes our offensive capabilities," Anarumo said.

Along with the new mascot the motto, 'larger than life,' encompasses all of 39th ABW missions and represents everything the wing is accomplishing.

"The moto 'larger than life' shows that we are the best wing in the Air Force," said Anarumo. "We can produce things that no one else can. We are the premier wing in the Air Force right now."

Every part of the new mascot represents a part of the 39th ABW mission, and not only was the idea, Titan, thought of by 39th ABW Airmen, the mascot was also designed by them.

"We had a team of artists, nine total, who worked on the image," Anarumo said. "Each one of them took an individual piece of concept art and then we combined them together. That final graphic was collaborated by nine different artists from around this wing, which is really amazing."

The Titans and the motto, "larger than life," now represent all of team Incirlik.

"Everyone should be embracing this," Anarumo said. "When you're out there walking around getting ready to pop a salute and I say 'how are you doing Titan' the correct response is 'larger than life.' Remember there are two people in the world, there are Titans, and people who want to be Titans."