The 916th Air Refueling Wing welcomed new leadership Friday morning, as Col. Scovill Currin handed over command of the wing to Col. Craig McPike.
As is tradition, the ceremony began at 9:16 a.m. as Major Gen. Randall Ogden, 4th Air Force commander opened the proceedings. Ogden, who has also commanded the 916 ARW, said that coming back to Seymour Johnson was like "coming home."
Odgen said that both Currin and McPike exemplify the concept of "servant leadership."
"Both of you guys, it's not about you, it's about servant leadership and putting people first," he said.
Currin took over as commander of the 916th from Col. Eric Jenkins in July of last year, inheriting the first ever integrated wing -- a wing including both active duty and reserve airmen -- in the history of the Air Force. He said that the time he has spent with the 916th has been meaningful to him, and that leaving his "family" at Seymour Johnson was not an easy task.
"I have not looked forward to this day. Saying goodbye to those you love, those you have served alongside and those you have shared an incredible experience with is an emotional experience," he said. "At the end of the day, command of this wing has been a labor of love."
Currin said that the 916th has been a special unit to work with, and he recounted the long list of challenges the wing has overcome in the last year.
"When I got here two years ago, I was awestruck at what you guys were facing. You were standing up the first I-wing in Air Force history, you were trying to figure out how to welcome the new KC-46 and over $100 million in construction. You had three nuclear generation exercises and then the nuclear [Operation Readiness Exercise] staring you in the face, and a [Unit Effectiveness Inspection]," he said. "We had to find a home for 200 airmen after Pope and their airlift wing closed down. We were facing the largest ops maintenance deployment here in history, and if that wasn't enough, you had hurricane evacuations and super [Unit Training Assemblies] focused on readiness."
Currin said that the fact that the wing came through all of that with stellar marks on its assessments shows that the 916th is special.
After he spoke, Currin handed off the ceremonial flag to Ogden, who then presented it to McPike, symbolizing the change of command. McPike took to the stage next, where he praised the 916th for providing U.S. air power across the world.
"We must ensure that the Air Force can provide responsive and effective global reach and global power. Both in peacetime and at war, we are a globally responsive force, and we are always ready," he said.
"We measure in responsiveness in minutes, in hours, and the effects that our airmen create in precision air strikes, air superiority and rapid mobility underwrite our nation's security."