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Croft becomes 49th Wing commander
Lieutenant Gen. Robin Rand, 12th Air Force commander, stands alongside Col. David Krumm, outgoing 49th Wing commander, and Col. Andrew Croft, incoming 49th WG commander, during the 49th WG change of command ceremony at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., June 22. Rand attended the ceremony to officiate the transfer of command of the 49th WG to Croft. The change of command is a time-honored tradition that allows Airmen to witness the formal transfer of authority one commander to another. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Michael Shoemaker/Released)
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Croft becomes 49th Wing commander

Posted 6/22/2012   Updated 6/22/2012 Email story   Print story

    


by Airman 1st Class Siuta B. Ika
49th Wing Public Affairs


6/22/2012 - HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Hundreds of Airmen from across the base welcomed the new 49th Wing commander, Col. Andrew "Sparky" Croft, during a change of command ceremony here June 22.

The presiding officer of the ceremony, Lt. Gen. Robin Rand, 12th Air Force commander, spoke after the presentation of the colors and the ceremony's invocation.

"I'm impressed by the excellence of the 49th Wing, and again I'm humbled to be in the presence of our great Airmen," Rand said. "It is our heritage and it is our legacy that we are honoring today."

Rand then discussed the wing's illustrious history in combat air superiority.

"This is a combat wing comprised of more than 4,000 personnel, and you continually rise to surpass every challenge that you encounter," Rand said. "Your wing has a proud heritage forged in combat. From halting the Japanese advances in the Pacific during World War II, receiving honors during the Korean War, to forging the way for air superiority in Serbia during Allied Force and in recent operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Haiti."

"In addition, this wing has deployed more than 1,000 Airmen in support of combat and humanitarian operations over the past two years," Rand continued. "You've absolutely led the way in training, deploying and employing F-22 [Raptor] weapon systems, and you've racked up an impressive list of Air Force and [Air Combat Command] level winners. Quite frankly, the list is too long to mention every accolade, but I want you to know that I'm immensely proud to be your 12th Air Force commander."

Rand also discussed some of the wing's other accomplishments, such as winning the ACC Airfield Operations Complex of the Year Award for 2011; having the No.1 logistics readiness squadron as well as the best force support squadron in the Air Force; and leading the way for the wing in earning an overall "excellent" rating for the 2011 ACC Operational Readiness Inspection.

The general then spoke about Col. David Krumm's leadership abilities and tendencies during his tenure as the wing commander.

"One thing is clear when reviewing his career: he is a brilliant senior leader in our United States Air Force, and this proven commander is someone I would follow anywhere," Rand said. "His leadership, insight and strategic vision have imparted an unmatched culture of success, motivation, compliance and modernization, while sustaining critical combat operations."

The 12th AF commander then welcomed Croft, who comes to Holloman AFB from Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, where he served as the 12th Operations Group commander.

"Today is a special day for Colonel Andrew Croft," Rand said. "The 49th Wing is incredibly fortunate to have him. 'Sparky' knows the mission of combat air power, and his blend of staff experience, professional military education and warfighting, makes him the perfect choice to lead the 49th Wing at this critical juncture. As a graduate of the lead-in fighter training here at Holloman in 1990, and the senior officer MQ-1 course last year, he arrives with an appreciation for the mission at Holloman."

Before Rand called Krumm to the stage to award him a Legion of Merit for "especially meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service to the United States as commander, 49th Wing, Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.," he shared his thoughts on Krumm receiving the award.

"What that LOM won't specifically capture is the spirit of this extraordinary warrior and leader," Rand said. "He embodies, so well, our core values of integrity, service and excellence. It won't capture the humility of this fine leader, someone who always deflects credit to his Airmen when things go well, and stands in the gap and accepts responsibility when things go wrong. Kim and I will miss both you and Lisa, but we look forward to tracking your rapid rise in our Air Force."

At the conclusion of Rand's speech, Krumm stepped forward to receive the LOM award.

After thanking his superior officers, members of the local community who he said made him "feel like family," the White Sands Missile Range commander, group and squadron commanders, German Air Force members, and his family, he spoke to the Airmen of Holloman AFB.

"General Rand went over the list of accomplishments, but that Legion of Merit isn't mine, it's all a reflection of you. You have done so much," Krumm said. "When I showed up here to Holloman Air Force Base, I thought I knew what amazing was, but I was wrong, dead wrong. You guys are absolutely spectacular. It has been my honor and privilege to be your commander and be counted among you Fightin' 49ers. Holloman, our nation, and quite frankly, this world is a better place for what each and every one of you do."

Krumm then received his final salute as the 49th WG commander and relinquished his command. After Croft assumed command, he then received his first salute as the wing commander, before sharing his feelings about assuming command of the diverse wing.

"Sometimes, you never know where the Air Force will take you next, and we are certainly no exception," Croft said. "I can tell you with absolute certainty that my family and I are ecstatic to be here at the 49th Wing and Holloman Air Force Base. A lot has changed since my last assignment here at lead in fighter training in 1990. F-15s and T-38s were in the pattern, while RPAs and fifth generation fighters were still a decade away. More change is on the way, and I'm sure our team is ready to meet those challenges over the next few years."

The colonel then thanked Rand and concluded his speech by telling the crowd he was honored to join them.

"To the 49ers, Team Holloman, our tenants, and community leaders, I will make every effort to learn your mission as quickly as possible," Croft said. "I look forward to meeting you and I can only offer you hard work and honesty, while balancing family life while we all work towards common objectives. So to our team, let's get on to the mission. I ask that you focus on your tasks at hand, that you communicate with those around you, and uphold our values. It is an honor to be here, I thank you for coming, and I look forward to working with each and every one of you."



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