by Airman 1st Class Jarrod Grammel
23rd Wing Public Affairs
7/19/2011 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- U.S. Air Force Col. Billy Thompson assumed command of the 23rd Wing from Col. Gary Henderson during a change of command ceremony July 19.
The ceremony was a chance to welcome Thompson from his last assignment as commander of the 563rd Rescue Group at Davis- Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.
During the change of command ceremony, Maj. Gen. Stephen Hoog, 9th AF commander, presented Henderson with the Legion of Merit decoration for his leadership during the past two years.
"The 23rd WG has executed the mission in a superb fashion and set the bar high," said Hoog. "Due to the 23rd WG's unrelenting focus on the mission, its Airmen were repeatedly recognized downrange with medals for valor and heroism.
"The 23rd WG has the tradition of combat excellence and warrior ethos," he added.
The new commander said he hopes to continue the legacy of the Flying Tigers and is happy to be back at Moody.
"There is not a more vital and deadly team than the one that exists at Moody...and I'm glad to become a part of it," said Thompson.
"One of the best things about being at Moody is the opportunity to live in South Georgia," he added. "The hospitality of the people and genuine caring for our Airmen make this a special place."
Among the many civilian and military guests were distinguished visitors from the community, three former Moody wing commanders and many retired chief master sergeants and officers.
The 23rd WG currently has about 1,200 Airmen deployed and is credited with 3,400 saves under Henderson's command.
"The Flying Tigers are always out front and punching above their weight," said Henderson. "It's the Airmen of the 23rd Wing that make it happen. You are the epitome of combat professionals, and I am proud to have served with you.
"'That others may live,' is not just a slogan but a way of life for Airmen here," he added.
At the end of the ceremony, Henderson's name was removed from the HH-60G Pave Hawk and Thompson's was added to indicate finalization of the change of command.
Henderson will move to Ramstein Air Base, Germany to be deputy commander of 3rd Air Force.