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82nd EASOS gets new commander

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col Mark Johnson, 82nd Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron, speaks to his troops for the first time after assuming command on May 3, 2014 at an undisclosed location is Southwest Asia. The 82nd EASOS provides tactical command and control of air assets and environmental support to the Joint Forces Air and Land Component Commanders.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bowcock)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col Mark Johnson, 82nd Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron, speaks to his troops for the first time after assuming command on May 3, 2014 at an undisclosed location is Southwest Asia. The 82nd EASOS provides tactical command and control of air assets and environmental support to the Joint Forces Air and Land Component Commanders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bowcock)

U.S. Air Force Col Timothy Gosnell, 380th Expeditionary Operations Group commander, presents Lt. Col. Matthew Lengel with a gift during a change of command ceremony held May 3, 2014. Lengel has been the commander of 82nd Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron for over a year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bowcock)

U.S. Air Force Col Timothy Gosnell, 380th Expeditionary Operations Group commander, presents Lt. Col. Matthew Lengel with a gift during a change of command ceremony held May 3, 2014. Lengel has been the commander of 82nd Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron for over a year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bowcock)

U.S. Air Force Col. Timothy Gosnell, 380th Expeditionary Operations Group commander, presents Lt. Col. Mark Johnson with the 82nd Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron guidon on May 3, 2014 at an undisclosed location is Southwest Asia. The passing of the guidon signifies Johnson’s official assumption of command. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bowcock)

U.S. Air Force Col. Timothy Gosnell, 380th Expeditionary Operations Group commander, presents Lt. Col. Mark Johnson with the 82nd Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron guidon on May 3, 2014 at an undisclosed location is Southwest Asia. The passing of the guidon signifies Johnson’s official assumption of command. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bowcock)

SOUTHWEST ASIA -- The command of the 82nd Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron passed Saturday from Lt. Col. Matthew Lengel to Lt. Col. Mark Johnson during a change of command ceremony at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia.

Johnson, who assumed command, deployed here from the 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, where he served as director of operations. The 3rd ASOS organizes trains, equips and employs tactical air control parties throughout Pacific Command.

Col. Timothy Gosnell, 380th Expeditionary Operations Group commander, Southwest Asia, presided over the ceremony and lauded Lengel's accomplishments.

"Lt. Col. Lengel provided phenomenal leadership with a distinct vision to expand the role of the 82nd EASOS within the region and ensure interoperability with regional partners, while building a lasting strategic relationship with U.S. Army Central Command," said Gosnell. "Also, his focus on the personal well-being of the members of Team Arcane forged a solid fighting force that treated each other like family."

Gosnell spoke of why Johnson was selected to be the new commander.

"Lt. Col. Johnson is the perfect person to step in and carry the squadron torch at this critical time, using his extensive B-1 background as the 82nd EASOS enters the busiest month in squadron history," said Gosnell.

Johnson has held positions from chief of flight safety to assistant director of operations in B-1 squadrons. He is a senior pilot with more than 2,500 flying hours and has deployed in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. He's flown over 600 combat hours. Johnson has also served at Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson, Arizona, where he was the deputy chief of standards and evaluations for 12th Air Force.

In his role as commander, Johnson will head a squadron which provides airpower and weather expertise to U.S. Army Central Regional Aligned Forces and regional partners across a 10-nation area of responsibility. In addition, the squadron supports a Central Command crisis response force and conducts partnership operations and combat training with six partner nations and all American military services.

Johnson thanked Gosnell for the opportunity to serve, "it is truly an honor to be a part of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing and 380th Expeditionary Operations Group."

He also acknowledged the men and women of the 82nd EASOS.
"To the men and women of the 82nd, I am honored to be the commander of such dedicated Airmen," he said. "Thank you for welcoming me here to join you on this exciting mission. Your excellence and professionalism precede you and is evident in the squadron today."

The processes and policies in place will remain in effect to maintain a smooth transition, he said.

"Together, we will continue to advance the success of the squadron and exceed the needs of the mission," said Johnson. "I can't be happier to be part of such an amazing team."

The incoming commander reminded his squadron members that they all contribute to something bigger than themselves and to take the time to make the 82nd better and more enduring than it has ever been.