TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
Col. David Gaedecke relinquished command of the 552nd Air Control Wing to Col. Geoffrey Weiss in a change of command ceremony held in Hangar 230, June 30. Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly, Commander, Twelfth Air Force and Commander Air Forces Southern, was the presiding officer. General Kelly had high praise for community leaders, elected officials and Team Tinker members who have supported the 552nd ACW.
“Thanks to our unwavering civic leaders, elected officials and Honorary Commanders who put the ‘Honor’ in Honorary. Thanks to our Tinker AFB host Col. Kenyon Bell and Lt. Gen. Lee Levy and all the world class technicians of the Air Force Sustainment Center,” said Kelly. “And lastly, thanks to the Airmen of the 552nd ACW for the thousands of seen and unseen; known and unknown no-fail tasks you perform every single day; your performance does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.”
The general then went on to talk about what it takes to be a championship team.
“You know you’re amongst champions when you ask the operators, intel, life support how the recent Red Flag Exercise went or how the most recent deployment to the Middle East went – and they respond - to a person, first and foremost with, ‘Maintenance absolutely crushed it – they hit it out of the park.’ When you have maintenance oriented operators and operationally oriented maintainers, you’re on a championship team,” said Kelly.
The general then commented on the out-going commander Colonel Dave Gaedecke’s and the 552nd ACWs accomplishments over the last two years.
“Fielding of new technology and capability, no notice deployments to defend against Russian Long Range Aviation, short notice deployments to provide Overwatch of the President’s travel,” said the general.
He also talked about the Colonel’s unwavering commitment and advocacy of Air Control Airmen and being a staunch Command and Control proponent “for the right resources, acquisition, the right leaders and the right policy, that our Airmen require and deserve to execute our Nation’s bidding. That’s why the Air Force is promoting him to Brigadier General,” said Kelly.
Lieutenant General Kelly talked about the incoming commander, Col. Geoffrey Weiss.
“We welcome the Weiss family from Nellis AFB back for their third tour here at Tinker. Skippy Weiss brings an impressive resume’ of school and staff assignments as he begins his Command tour here. As our Air Force grows and continues to deploy around the globe in these challenging times – works to increase our readiness and reinvigorate our Squadrons, as we work to modify and update our E-3 fleet, Col. Geoffrey Weiss is the exact leader for this Wing,” Kelly said.
In his remarks, Col. Weiss took time to thank the various organizations and individuals for their support to the Wing over the years.
“This Wing has thrived over the years and will continue to do so because of the outstanding relationship we have with our State and local communities and leaders. We could not function without the terrific support we receive from Air Force Materiel Command and the great men and women of the Sustainment Center, Logistics Complex and the 72nd Air Base Wing,” said Weiss. “We also enjoy great cooperation from our Air Force Reserve colleagues and a long-time standing and close partnership with our Canadian partners. Thank You.”
In his departing remarks, Col. Gaedecke noted some of the historic accomplishments of the men and women of the 552nd ACW.
“Over the past two years we have literally made history. To name a few, we accepted the first-ever glass cockpit U.S. E-3, we tested and fielded a new system for our Control Reporting Centers, we deployed the E-3G into combat for the first time, our brothers and sisters in the Canadian air force deployed with us into a combat theater, we created 3D printed parts saving the Air Force hundreds of thousands of dollars with further expansion that could lead to millions of dollars saved,” said Gaedecke. “America’s Wing… thank you for your faithful service, your commitment, your dedication, and for allowing me to work for you.”