LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Lieutenant Gen. Robin Rand, left, 12th Air Force Commander, hands Col. Jim Cluff the 432nd Wing flag to signify the passing of command May 3, 2013. Colonel Cluff assumed command of the 432nd Wing and 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing, which have the mission of flying MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1 Predator aircraft in support of United States and coalition warfighters. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman A.K./Released)
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- The name of former 432nd Wing and 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Commander, Col. James Hecker, is removed from an MQ-9 Reaper to reveal the name of the new wing commander, Col. Jim Cluff, during a symbolic ceremony May 3, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman A.K./Released)
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- The sons of Col. James Hecker, prior 432nd Wing and 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Commander, pin on his first star during a frocking ceremony May 3, 2013. Hecker was frocked to the rank of brigadier general after relinquishing command of the 432nd Wing and 432nd AEW, in preparation for taking command of the 18th Fighter Wing at Kadena Air Base, Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman A.K./Released)
by Staff Sgt. D.H.
432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
5/9/2013 - LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Col. Jim Cluff assumed command of the 432nd Wing and 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing from outgoing commander Col. James Hecker during a change of command ceremony May 3.
Cluff has served as the vice commander since July 2012, and now that the guidon has changed hands, he says it is his honor to step out of his support role and become the wing's leader.
"The opportunity to command a world-class combat organization like the 432nd Wing and 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity," he said. "I have worked with every wing commander of the 432nd Wing since its reactivation in 2007, and I am truly humbled to follow in the footsteps of great men like these."
Lt. Gen. Robin Rand, 12th Air Force Commander and presiding officer of the ceremony, assured attendees they are still in good hands with the transition of command from Hecker to Cluff.
"He knows this mission from the ground up, there is no one better qualified to lead the 432nd Wing," Rand said. "He is the first RPA-qualified squadron commander to become a wing commander. That is truly noteworthy."
During the ceremony, Rand also commended the efforts of the 432nd Wing Hunters under the guidance of Hecker.
"The around-the-clock, 24/7 vigilant over watch and direct support that you provide our soldiers, our airmen, our sailors, our Marines, and our coalition freedom fighters has saved countless lives," Rand said.
After taking command Cluff shared his vision for the 432nd Wing.
"Our goal is to do what we have always done," he said. "That is to provide disciplined, life saving intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and combat power down range ... and we do that better than anyone in the world."
After the ceremony Hecker was frocked to the rank of brigadier general in preparation for taking command of the 18th Fighter Wing at Kadena Air Base, Japan.
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