Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Afghan, American Airmen commemorate 451 AEW change of command

Updated July 22, 2010

Brig. Gen. Paul Johnson assumes command of the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing from Lt. Gen. Mike Hostage, commander, Air Forces Central Command during a ceremony July 21, 2010, at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Chad Chisholm) Hi-res

by Tech. Sgt. Renni Thornton
451st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

7/21/2010 - KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Brig. Gen. Paul Johnson assumed command of the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing from Brig. Gen. Guy Walsh during a change-of-command ceremony July 21 held at the Afghan Air Force compound at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

Lt. Gen. Mike Hostage, Air Forces Central Command commander officiated the ceremony.

Several other active-duty Air Force and Afghan senior officers attended including commander, Kandahar Air Wing, Maj. Gen. Abdul Raziq Sherzai; director, Air Component Coordination Element-Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. Charles Lyon; deputy commander, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, Brig. Gen. Jack Briggs; and commanding general, Combined Air Power Transition Force, Brig. Gen. Michael Boera.

Their presence underscored the enduring importance of the Air Force's presence and capability to the mission.

General Johnson first thanked General Hostage. "Thank you for the opportunity to lead and command the 451st."

He then thanked General Walsh for passing him the command.

"It is a privilege to follow in your shoes. I was delighted to know you stood the wing up and it is a distinct honor to follow in your footsteps. I will not break what you have been able to do and I will try to take it to the next level. Thank you for all you have done."

General Johnson also thanked the Afghan elders in attendance.

"Honored elders, thank you for your presence and you serve as a reminder of why we are here in Afghanistan. Thank you for allowing me to be part of the team here."

Assuming command, General Johnson said, "To the men and women of the 451st, you have no idea how honored I am to be here and be part of the team with you. The presence of so many afghan leaders and partners reminds us why we are here. You do really big things everyday and you do them very well. In the end, every one of them should be for the overarching goal of helping Afghanistan build capacity and capability. You volunteered to put on the uniform, volunteered to leave your families and volunteered to do extremely difficult work under challenging circumstances and you do it with a degree of excellence unmatched anywhere.

We are all American Airmen, part of a joint and coalition team and I am honored to be a part of this fight with you."

In parting, General Johnson echoed his thanks to the KAF and Regional Command-South general officers.

"Thank you for the chance to be part of your team and partnership. I will do all that I can to continue what Guy has begun and I am here to stand side by side to continue that partnership and do all that General Petraeus has in mind for us and to achieve the desires for Afghanistan to increase their capacity and capabilities."


Update July 22, 1010:

One of four additional pictures, released today in the photo section of 451st AEW's public website:

Brig. Gen. Paul Johnson, 451st Air Expeditionary Wing commander, addresses Airmen during a change-of-command ceremony at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, July 21, 2010. Afghan Airmen hosted the ceremony at the Afghan Air Force hangar to showcase the partnership between the Kandahar Air Wing and the 451 AEW. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Chad Chisholm) Hi-res

Note: Visible in the background is A-10C 82-0654 from the 81st Fighter Squadron, 52nd Fighter Wing (USAFE), Spangdahlem AB, Germany, and currently deployed with the 81st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron.

No comments:

Post a Comment