EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
The 33rd Fighter Wing held a change of command ceremony April 13 at the wing’s maintenance training facility here.
Brigadier Gen. Patrick Doherty, 19th Air Force commander, presided over the ceremony where Col. Paul Moga assumed command from Col. Lance Pilch.
Doherty spoke about the Nomads storied history and foot stomped the role they would play at the forefront of air power.
“The efforts of the 33rd (Fighter Wing) are going to be front and center, the first elements of American power (for future, near-peer conflicts). To deter aggression and, if needed, to crush the threat,” Doherty said.
In his final address as Nomad One, Pilch expressed his pride in the accomplishments of the fighter wing.
“When you look at the past two years it’s staggering how far [the wing has] come,” said Pilch, addressing the Airmen and Sailors. “What I’m most proud of is that you did this all yourselves, without me asking. I gave you the reins and you made it happen, never looking back.”
For his service as commander of the wing, Pilch was presented with the Legion of Merit medal.
Before rendering his final salute to the wing, Pilch said, “Know that you have made a difference to our national defense. Our sons and daughters will be safer because of the work you do and continue to do. So if I hang on to the guidon a little tight and don’t let go, you understand why.”
Pilch will go on to serve as the vice commander of the 17th Air Force at Osan Air Base, South Korea as a brigadier general.
Moga assumed command of the Air Force’s first F-35 wing, which supports the training of over 100 pilots, two thousand maintainers, 160 intelligence officers, and 234 air battle managers annually.
Addressing Pilch, Moga said, “It was very clear to me early on the Nomads are an organization that are leaning forward on their toes, not back on their heels, ready to tackle every challenge. And that is due in no small part to your leadership.”
Addressing the community leaders, the colonel thanked them for the unwavering support to the men and women of the 33rd, and expressed hope for the continued partnership during his tenure.
Lastly, Moga addressed his Nomads.
“Nobody knows your mission better than you and nobody executes your mission better than you,” he said. “You’ve faced your fair share of challenges, and to be certain there’s more on the horizon. We’ll tackle them together (and) inevitably and eventually, we’ll win. Because we are Nomads and that is who we are and that is what we do.”