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News > Dual role wing gets new commander: 432 WG/AEW change of command
Dual role wing gets new commander: 432 WG/AEW change of command

Posted 7/11/2011   Updated 7/11/2011 Email story   Print story


by 432d Wing and 432d Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

7/11/2011 - CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- The 432d Wing and 432d Air Expeditionary Wing received a new commander June 29 during an on-base ceremony.

Brig. Gen. Jon Norman, 12th Air Force Vice Commander, presided over the ceremony while Col. Pete Gersten relinquished command of the two wings to Col. James Hecker, who will be the 35th commander since the wing activated in World War II.

Colonel Gersten has served as the commander of the wings for the past two years and will go on to Langley AFB, Va., to serve as the Director of Plans and Programs at Headquarters Air Combat Command.

"Over the past two years, I have had the distinct honor and privilege to work with the finest Airmen in the world," said Colonel Gersten. "Through your hard work and dedication, the remotely piloted aircraft mission has been by far a huge success and a testament to the air superiority of the U.S. Air Force."

The new commander, Colonel Hecker, is charged with the dual role of leading both wings of combat-ready Airmen who fly the MQ-1B Predator, MQ-9 Reaper and RQ-170 Sentinel that directly support the joint forces war fighter.

"I am excited and looking forward to working with the outstanding Airmen that make this mission possible," said Colonel Hecker.

Colonel Hecker is a 1989 distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and he has held a variety of flying assignments to include Commander, 3rd Operations Group, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska and Commander, 27th Fighter Squadron, Langley AFB, Va. Colonel Hecker was both a graduate and instructor at the USAF Weapons Instructor Course. He has also worked as a military legislative assistant for Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott in Washington, D.C.

He is coming from Yokota Air Base, Japan, where he was the Director of Operations at Headquarters U.S. Forces Japan. As the J3, he was responsible for the planning and execution of joint and bilateral training, exercises and operations with the U.S. Forces and the Japan Self Defense Force. He also represented the United States Forces, Japan, for operational related issues in discussions with the Japanese Ministries of Defense, Foreign Affairs, and Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

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