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57th Wing welcomes new commander

July 21, 2010 (by Charles Ramey) - Command of the U.S. Air Force's most diverse flying organization changed hands July 16 as Brig. Gen. T.J. O'Shaughnessy assumed command of the 57th Wing from Brig. Gen. Russ Handy.

SSgt. Jeremy Strivens, 57th AMXS crew chief, removes tape from F-16C block 52 #91-0362 with the name of Brig. Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, the new 57th Wing commander, at a change of command ceremony on July 16th, 2010. [USAF photo by A1C. Brett Clashman]

The 57th Wing oversees 38 squadrons at 12 installations with members and organizations operating, maintaining and utilizing 14 different types of aircraft. The unit is also responsible for the planning and execution of Red Flag-Nellis and Green Flag exercises and is the parent organization for the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, "Thunderbirds," U.S. Air Force Advanced Maintenance and Munitions Officer School and the 561st Joint Tactics Squadron.

"The 57th Wing is the highest impact, most important wing in the Air Force," said Maj. Gen. Ted Kresge, commander of the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center, as he presided over the early-morning ceremony on the Nellis flightline. "Try to imagine the United States Air Force without a 57th Wing. It would be an organization who sends its Airmen into harm's way who are unaware of the threat, unfamiliar with their weapons systems and incapable of handling the complexities of modern air warfare."

General Handy served 30 months as the commander of the 57th Wing and will depart Nellis to become the director, Air Component Coordination Element, U.S. Forces-Iraq, and commander of Detachment 2, 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force, Baghdad, Iraq. Under his command, the 57th Wing flew 30,000 sorties, prepared 15,000 joint and coalition forces for combat via 10 Red Flag and 40 Green Flag exercises and graduated more than 500 Weapons School and AMMOS students. The organization also trained over 5,000 air and ground liaison officers, joint fires observers, joint terminal attack controllers and joint fires course students; and performed more than 150 Thunderbird air demonstrations in front of 6 million viewers.

"It's the attitude, dedication and contributions of individual Airmen that get the job done," General Handy said prior to relinquishing command. "Nowhere in the world is that mentality more important than here at Nellis and in the 57th Wing. We've got big challenges ahead while we continue to support today's fight down range and prepare for the future. Hold the bar firmly in place, don't flinch and humbly carry your Airman's perspective to the fight with our joint and coalition partners so we can get the job done together."

General O'Shaughnessy rejoins the 57th Wing from Hickam AFB, Hawaii, where he served as vice commander of 13th Air Force. A 1986 distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, the general is a command pilot with more than 2,900 hours in the F-16 Fighting Falcon. He previously served at Nellis as an instructor in the F-16 division of the Weapons School and was the first commander of the 57th Adversary Tactics Group--the Air Force's foremost organization for replicating adversary threats and tactics across a full spectrum of operations. General O'Shaughnessy has also commanded the 510th Fighter Squadron, Aviano Air Base, Italy; 35th Fighter Wing, Misawa AB, Japan; and 613th Air and Space Operations Center at Hickam AFB.

"Nellis and the 57th Wing represent the best our Air Force has to offer," General O'Shaughnessy said after taking command. "This is no ordinary command and every organization in this wing is the best in the world at what it does. Even though General Handy and I have exchanged the flag, our mission remains unchanged. We're preparing today for tomorrow's victories and we will continue to provide training, tactics and threat replication while showcasing airpower to the world."

Courtesy of Nellis Public Affairs