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325th Fighter Wing Welcomes New Commander

July 11, 2016

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The 325th Fighter Wing held a change of command ceremony at Hangar 5 here today.

Colonel Michael F. Hernandez, took command of the 325th Fighter Wing from Col. Derek C. France during the ceremony. Hernandez is the former vice wing commander of the 482nd Fighter Wing, Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida. He is the first Air Force Reserve commander to lead the Tyndall wing.

“This is obviously a very humbling experience for me to be standing up here,” Hernandez said. “Our mission here is a crucial one. This is where air dominance begins.”

Addressing an assembly of Airmen, local officials and family members, Hernandez said it had been more than 60 years since America had been attacked by an enemy aircraft. He then directed his remarks to the officers and Airmen standing in formation.

“Sometimes we lose sight of how well you’ve done this,” Hernandez said. “But it’s a crucial mission you have accomplished here because without air dominance we can’t do all the things we need to do to make this world a safer place. Sometimes the gravity of that is lost on us, but I hope you take the time to remember that. You all are a superb team and I’m truly be honored to serve alongside you,” he said.

Maj. Gen. Scott Zobrist, Ninth Air Force commander, officiated the ceremony and expressed confidence in the new commander.

“Col. Hernandez’s flying and leadership experience at all levels, in both the active and Reserve, make him the right leader for this command that is continuously engaged in training and combat operations,” Zobrist said. “I know Col. Hernandez is the perfect leader to build on the successes of those who have come before him and to take this wing to the next level.”

France praised Team Tyndall for the last time as commander.

“To the men and women of the 325th Fighter Wing, you guys rock! I can’t say it any better,” France said. “All those exercise, operations, and awards with national and strategic implication is all you.

“You made me proud every day,” France said. “Our nation and our military rely on air dominance. It’s non-negotiable and it should never be taken for granted. When this nation is tested in future conflicts, the work you do every day and the work you have done over the years to guarantee air dominance will carry the day. Thank you for an amazing two years. It’s been a true honor to serve with you as a Checkertail.”

France will move on to become the senior executive officer to the vice chief of staff of the Air Force in Washington D.C.

Tyndall hosts the largest number of F-22 Raptors in the world. The 325th Fighter Wing’s primary mission is to train and project unrivaled combat air power.

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