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Changing of the guard: 378th AEW holds change of command ceremony

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Alexander Frank
  • 378 Air Expeditionary Wing

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Akshai Gandhi relinquished command of the 378th Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) to Brig. Gen. Quaid Quadri during a change of command ceremony at Prince Sultan Air Base (PSAB), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Oct. 9th, 2023.

Gandhi was the fifth commander to lead the 378th AEW in its mission to sustain, integrate and defend joint forces on the base, while also building U.S. partnerships in the region. During his time in command, Gandhi led the creation of U.S. Air Forces Central’s (AFCENT) first Expeditionary Air Base Group under the new XAB model, and oversaw the execution of over 23 major exercises in support of Operations Spartan Shield, and Inherent Resolve.

“It has been an honor to serve as the 378th Air Expeditionary Wing commander,” said Gandhi. “I'd like to thank Team PSAB for everything that was done out here. Nothing happens without the Airmen and Soldiers of Prince Sultan Air Base, and these accomplishments are not mine, they are yours.”

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Richard Quirk, Senior Defense Official and Defense Attaché, United States Defense Attaché Office, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, officiated the change of command ceremony. During his remarks, Quirk highlighted Gandhi’s leadership of the 378th AEW as a key factor in projecting air power throughout the AFCENT AOR.

“Your steadfast leadership of this wing enabled the 378th to reach new heights,” said Quirk. “You and your Airmen excelled in delivering air power to the coalition, and AFCENT would not have been able to function without your dedication to the mission. There is no question that your impact at PSAB will be visible for years to come.”

Upon his redeployment, Gandhi will serve in a role at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.

Gandhi relinquished command to Quadri, who previously served as the169th Fighter Wing commander, at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, SC. As fate would have it, it’s a role that Quadri also assumed from Gandhi in 2021.

“It is the easiest job taking over a wing from Brig. Gen. Gandhi because he's already broken-down challenges, and removed barriers,” said Quadri during his first remarks as commander. “Thank you to the 378th Airmen who have been here setting the conditions for success and executing the mission. I am honored to be here, and to be a part of this wing.”

The 378th AEW was activated in December of 2019, and currently supports approximately 2,200 Airmen and Soldiers assigned to PSAB, the U.S. Army's Patriot defense capability and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense capability in the region.

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