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963rd ‘Blue Knights’ welcome new leader

Lt. Col. George Wilson took over as commander of the 963rd Airborne Air Control Squadron March 26. (Air Force photo by Kelly White)

Lt. Col. George Wilson took over as commander of the 963rd Airborne Air Control Squadron March 26. (Air Force photo by Kelly White)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla -- On a blustery, sunny Oklahoma day, Lt. Col. George Wilson assumed command of the 963rd Airborne Air Control Squadron.

In the hangar of Bldg. 289, Col. George Carpenter, 552nd Operations Group commander, presided over the change of command.

Colonel Wilson succeeded Lt. Col. Robert Haines, who is taking over as the 552nd Operations Group deputy commander for flying.

"Today marks the beginning of a journey that will ask much of you and your family," said Colonel Carpenter to the incoming commander."

Colonel Wilson joined the Air Force 16 years ago and since 2007 had served as the Director of Operations for the 966th Airborne Air Control Squadron.

"Continue doing what you do best: build, lead, teach the future of the Air Force," Colonel Wilson said. "My next two years are dedicated to you. I pledge to you my complete attention."

Colonel Haines leaves behind a highly capable, up-tempo squadron that served two AOR deployments under his command. While he's ready for his new assignment, giving up the 963rd reins will be difficult for the officer who's seen marked success at Tinker.

"You performed brilliantly as a commander of the world famous Blue Knights," Colonel Carpenter said. "Your dynamic leadership and commitment to operational excellence has taken the 963rd to new heights and established the Blue Knights as the squadron that sets the standard for others to follow."

"I can tell you that handing over the guidon today is not going to be easy," Colonel Haines said. "Blue Knights, what a blessing it's been to serve with you. I truly believe you're one of the finest squadrons in the United States Air Force. I've been amazed by what you've accomplished over the last several years."