JBPHH welcomes a new deputy commander

Col. Richard Smith makes his final remarks as the 647 Air Base Group commander July 13, at the Hickam Missing Man Formation. Photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Stoltz

Col. Richard Smith relinquished his command of the 647th Air Base Group (ABG) and as deputy commander of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) to Col. Douglas Pierce during the 647th ABG change of command ceremony July 13 at the Missing Man Formation Memorial.

As the 647th ABG commander, Smith led more than 900 personnel and five squadrons to deliver the full range of mission support for base, theater and global air and joint operations.

As the deputy Joint Base commander, he assisted the Joint Base commander with activating, integrating and guiding installation support functions for operations, supporting personnel and their families.

The ceremony also included remarks from other command leaders such as Capt. Jeff Bernard, commander, JBPHH and Col. Kevin Gordon, commander, 15th Wing.

Gordon presented Smith with the Legion of Merit for his outstanding service and accomplishments as commander to the 647th ABG.

“This job has been the most fantastic opportunity, and I am thankful, and grateful, for being given the opportunity to serve in this capacity,” Smith said in his remarks. “I’m a firm believer that with each rotation, we strengthen joint basing and our Joint Base team, partnerships and relationships to improve support to all stationed at or supported by JBPHH.”

Smith’s next assignment will be at Kunsan Air Base located in South Korea.

“No matter what service you belong to, if you reside or work on this installation, I ask that you take pride in it,” he added. “Together, all of us can ensure JBPHH is, and remains, an exceptional place to live and to work.”

The ABG commander is in a unique position due to being both commander of an Air Force Group, as well as serving as the deputy commander for JBPHH.

A South Carolina native, Pierce graduated from the Citadel in 1995 where he received his commission through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Most recently, Pierce has served as the chief, Financial Analysis Division, Directorate of Financial Management and comptroller at PACAF Headquarters.

“I particularly want to acknowledge my distinguished predecessor, Col. Smith,” Pierce said in his remarks.

“Mark Twain was fond of saying that ‘there is nothing more irritating than a good example’ and you are a good example and more.”

Pierce went on to add that Smith’s guidance and wisdom has tremendously helped him during this transition to Joint Base and he looks forward to continuing the record of great leadership and mission success.

“I realize that you have entrusted me with our nation’s most precious resource — our military, civilian and contractors as well as the families who serve alongside these great people,” he said.

“I do not take this responsibility lightly and will do my best to take care of them. I pledge to you to be a full partner with the group commanders, JB directors, and mission partners around the base and bring you all the capabilities necessary to best serve your priorities.”

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Category: News