515th AMOW holds change of command

Maj. Gen. Christopher Bence (left), commander of the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center, presents Col. Craig Harmon with the guidon as he assumes command of 515th AMOW during a change of command ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, June 1.

Story and photo by Capt. Jake Bailey

U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center

Col. Craig Harmon assumed command of the 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing (AMOW) during a change of command ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, June 1.

Maj. Gen. Christopher Bence, U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center commander, presided over the ceremony in which Col. Scott Zipp wald relinquished command of the 515th AMOW to Harmon.

Harmon, who previously served as the wing’s vice commander, now leads the 515th AMOW whose mission is to provide forward-deployed command and control, aerial port, and aircraft maintenance support to Department of Defense organic and contracted commercial aircraft executing airlift and air refueling missions throughout the Pacific theater.

“Col. Harmon is an experienced mobility pilot who knows firsthand the critical importance of Rapid Global Mobility,” Bence said. “His experience throughout Air Mobility Command, coupled with his time already spent here as the vice commander is huge, and I have absolutely no doubt he is set up for success.”

Before officially assuming command of the 515th AMOW, Harmon was presented the Legion of Merit, the Air Force’s sixth-highest decoration, for exceptional meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements as the wing’s vice commander.

Upon assuming command, Harmon expressed his commitment to the men and women of the 515th AMOW.

“To the men and women of the 515th AMOW, there is not a more strategically important wing in the Department of Defense-you’re postured and ready to support every contingency, providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief at a moment’s notice across — and through — the vast 105 million square-mile U.S.-Indo-Pacific AOR,” he said.

“Every day you support the finest and most powerful military force ever known to mankind.”

“I know we have the finest, best trained, best equipped, and most motivated Airmen, NCOs, chiefs and officers across the Unites States Air Force; I am excited to be your commander and I am committed to giving you my very best,” Harmon added.

Zippwald retires from the Air Force after more than 26 years of service.

During his tenure as commander, the 515th AMOW supported more than 67,000 missions, moving 865,000 passengers and 210,000 tons of cargo in support of 41 operations and exercises in 10 countries.

“The U.S. military’s ability to project power anywhere and anytime across the globe is unmatched and the key to our preeminence as a nation,” Zippwald said.

“A critical component of that global reach capability is the Pacific en route system.”

Zippwald said the 515th AMOW stands proud and ready to execute when called upon.

“It has been an honor to command this wing and be part of a team with such a superb reputation.”

Zippwald was presented with the Legion of Merit during a separate retirement ceremony following the change of command.

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Category: News