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552nd greets familiar face

Col. Gregory Roberts took command of the 552nd Operations Group July 22. Colonel Roberts is an Oklahoma native from Edmond and an OSU grad. (Air Force photo by Kelly White)

Col. Gregory Roberts took command of the 552nd Operations Group July 22. Colonel Roberts is an Oklahoma native from Edmond and an OSU grad. (Air Force photo by Kelly White)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE OKLAHOMA --
7/30/2010 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The 552nd Operations Group welcomed a new commander and familiar face July 22.

Col. Gregory Roberts, who has been stationed at Tinker twice prior to this assignment, succeeded Col. George Carpenter at a change-of-command ceremony at Bldg. 230's Dock 2.

"Colonel Roberts has escaped the churn of bureaucracy at the staff and is headed back to the thick of things leading the Air Force's finest Airmen," said Col. John Rauch, 552nd Air Control Wing commander and presiding officer. "Colonel Carpenter left an indelible print on the group. Colonel Roberts' will begin the same process and leave his own print on this group."

Colonel Roberts came to Tinker from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., where he served as the Director of Safety at Headquarters, Air Force Global Strike Command. The Edmond native and Oklahoma State University graduate has a career rich in operational flying billets. The command pilot has more than 4,300 flying hours and has flown the WC-130E/H, the C-9A, the KC-10A, and the E-3B/C. Within his career, he's traveled the world and held assignments within Pacific Air Forces Headquarters and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Airborne Early Warning and Control Force Command Headquarters staff.

"This is truly a humbling experience for someone to be standing here before you and taking command. Colonel Rauch thank you so much for the opportunity to command the 552nd Operations Group," said Colonel Roberts. "I look forward to partnering with the many group commanders within America's Wing and leaders within the 513th Air Control Group and the 72nd Air Base Wing to build upon the accomplishments and tradition of excellence established by Colonel Carpenter."

Colonel Carpenter, who oversaw the group since April 2008, received the Legion of Merit award during the ceremony for his exemplary ability, diligence and devotion to duty. During his tenure, the group flew more than 33,400 hours in several combat operations, and eliminated a three-year training backlog.

"He led one of the Air Force's largest groups with continuous operations -- 28 aircraft fleet, more than 2,000 Airmen in several squadrons," said Colonel Rauch. "I've heard Colonel Carpenter say on a few occasions, the ops group success was a team accomplishment. He's obviously being humble and the many successes are truly a credit of his leadership."

Colonel Carpenter expressed his gratitude, thanking the operations group Airmen for their service.

"Colonel Rauch has given me a lot of credit for a lot of incredible things, but the truth is, this wing could not have done any of that without the members standing and sitting before you," Colonel Carpenter said. "It is the unbelievable work that these Airmen do each and every day that makes this group home. I owe all of them heartfelt thanks for a job extremely well done."