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378th AEW first change of command

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Giovanni Sims
  • 378 Air Expeditionary Wing

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Evan L. Pettus assumed command of the 378th Air Expeditionary Wing from U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. John C. Walker during a change of

In order to mitigate the risk of COVID-19, the 378th AEW held a virtual change of command ceremony where commanders and superintendents from Prince Sultan AB were able to tune into to the video teleconference. This allowed ceremonial traditions while following the rules of social distancing in order to comply with health and safety requirements set forth by the Department of Defense and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 As the wing’s first commander, Walker was hand-picked to lead the mission of the 378th AEW to provide additional deterrence and ensure the United States’ ability to defend its forces and interests in the region. Walker also oversaw the operations of four fighter squadrons whose missions were to execute close air support, interdiction, and counter air missions in support of joint and coalition combat operations.

“It’s been an honor to command such a committed and hard working group of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines here at Prince Sultan Air Base,” Walker said. “I have no doubt in my mind that these men and women will continue to be the pace-setters in AFCENT under the command of Brig. Gen. Pettus.”

After commanding the largest bare base operation in U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility, Walker has been reassigned to the Pentagon as the Deputy Director, Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability. Walker relinquished command to Pettus, who previously served as the Commandant, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

“The buildup of PSAB has been a truly phenomenal testament to the U.S. military and our ability to adjust to new or expanded requirements," Pettus said. “Together we will continue this remarkable mission and I’ll endeavor to serve you day in and day out. It is humbling to be a part of this joint team.”

Lt. Gen. Joseph T. Guastella, commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command, served as the presiding official for the ceremony as he dialed in from Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina.

Nearly two decades ago, Prince Sultan AB hosted the largest expeditionary operations center in the Air Force and served as the primary location for U.S. air power in the region. Since it’s activation in December 2019, it has again become home to U.S. service members whose mission is to continue to build and sustain an expeditionary operations hub, to assure the U.S.’s Saudi partners, enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia and security in the Middle East.

The 378th AEW will continue to provide theater operational depth and increased defensive support while sustaining regional presence to promote peace through deterrence.