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439th AW welcomes new commander

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Shane M. Phipps
  • 439th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

WESTOVER AIR RESERVE BASE, Mass. —  The 439th Airlift Wing, at Westover Air Reserve Base, hosted a change of command ceremony for incoming wing commander, Col. Craig C. Peters, and outgoing wing commander, Brig. Gen. D. Scott Durham, here, April 6.

Though officially Col. Peters won’t assume command until April 14, the ceremony was held in advance in order to coincide with a Unit Training Assembly, when the majority of reservists are on duty. In addition to being from the local area, Peters’ was previously stationed at Westover as a lieutenant in the early 1990s.

“Westover is home,” Peters said. “It’s overwhelming for me to be able to stand here today and command this wing. As I stand here, I can still remember being in this very same hangar back in 1991.”

Peters began his career 35 years ago as an enlisted Airman with the Air National Guard.

“I came into this job with nothing on my sleeve,” Peters said. “So, I appreciate from the Airman’s perspective what you do. We talk about trying to balance your family, your military life, and your civilian careers – and I can totally appreciate that from the lowest ranks that we have.”

Maj. Gen. Randall A. Ogden, 4th Air Force commander, oversaw the transition of power from Durham to Peters and articulated his appreciation to the audience.

“I’m going to thank the men and women of the 439th,” Ogden said. “You guys do a fantastic job.”

During the ceremony, Peters took the opportunity to address the troops directly, highlighting some of his highest priorities.

“You’re going to hear me talk a lot about empowerment, leadership, and mentoring at the lowest levels – and entrusting Airmen to take charge and do things,” Peters said. “As leaders, I need to make sure you’re in tune with your people.”

Peters concluded by emphasizing the need to trim away unnecessary tasks and free Airmen to focus on mission success.

“Commanders, I’m going to ask you over the course of the next month to work with your Airmen and come up with a list of all things that do not contribute to mission readiness,” he said. “Basically, a ‘one’ is going to be something that directly contributes to the mission, a ‘two’ will be something that needs to be tweaked to contribute to the mission, and ‘three’ has nothing to do with mission accomplishment. We’re going to take those lists and stop doing those things that aren’t contributing to the mission.”