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Leard Assumes Command of the 97th AMW

U.S. Air Force Col. Matthew Leard, 97th Air Mobility Wing commander, renders his first salute during the 97th AMW change of command, June 21, 2019, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Leard earned his commission through Officer Training School in 1999 and has since become a command pilot with more than 4,300 flight hours under his belt. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Klemm)

U.S. Air Force Col. Matthew Leard, 97th Air Mobility Wing commander, renders his first salute during the 97th AMW change of command, June 21, 2019, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Leard earned his commission through Officer Training School in 1999 and has since become a command pilot with more than 4,300 flight hours under his belt. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Klemm)

U.S. Air Force Col. Matthew Leard, 97th Air Mobility Wing commander, addresses Airmen of the 97th AMW for the first time as their commander during a change-of-command ceremony, June 21, 2019, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. The 97th AMW is responsible for the formal training of all KC-135 Stratotanker, C-17 Globemaster III and KC-46 Pegasus aircrew for active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units as well as multiple partner air forces from across the world. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Klemm)

U.S. Air Force Col. Matthew Leard, 97th Air Mobility Wing commander, addresses Airmen of the 97th AMW for the first time as their commander during a change-of-command ceremony, June 21, 2019, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. The 97th AMW is responsible for the formal training of all KC-135 Stratotanker, C-17 Globemaster III and KC-46 Pegasus aircrew for active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units as well as multiple partner air forces from across the world. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Klemm)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, 19th Air Force commander, passes the guidon to U.S. Air Force Col. Matthew Leard, 97th Air Mobility Wing commander, during the 97th AMW change of command ceremony, June 21, 2019, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Leard assumed command from U.S. Air Force Col. Eric Carney and is responsible for the formal training of all KC-135 Stratotanker, C-17 Globemaster III and KC-46 Pegasus aircrews for active duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve units as well as multiple partner air forces from across the world. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Klemm)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, 19th Air Force commander, passes the guidon to U.S. Air Force Col. Matthew Leard, 97th Air Mobility Wing commander, during the 97th AMW change of command ceremony, June 21, 2019, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Leard assumed command from U.S. Air Force Col. Eric Carney and is responsible for the formal training of all KC-135 Stratotanker, C-17 Globemaster III and KC-46 Pegasus aircrews for active duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve units as well as multiple partner air forces from across the world. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Klemm)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

U.S. Air Force Col. Matthew Leard took command of the 97th Air Mobility Wing, June 21, 2019, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, the 19th Air Force commander, passed the guidon to Leard in the official change-of-command ceremony. Leard now oversees the formal training of all KC-135 Stratotanker, C-17 Globemaster III and KC-46 Pegasus aircrews for active duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve units as well as multiple partner air forces from across the world.

“Colonel Matt Leard is the perfect choice to lead the members of the Mighty 97th,” said Wills. “He has excelled from the very first days of his career and has since built a reputation as one of our best young leaders. His deep commitment to our Airmen and families, unwavering integrity and relentless dedication to our Air Force and our nation will serve the Mighty 97th well.”

In his first remarks as commander of the 97th AMW, Leard said he cannot wait to begin his next adventure here at Altus AFB.

“Team Leard is unbelievably excited and honored to be a part of the Mighty 97th,” said Leard. “The professionalism and enthusiasm we have seen in every member of the 97th is amazing and we could not be more grateful.”

Leard earned his commission through Officer Training School in 1999 and has since become a command pilot with more than 4,300 flight hours under his belt. His assignments have included squadron and detachment command, along with staff and officer duties at U.S. Transportation Command, U.S. Air Force and Air Mobility Command Headquarters.

“I’ve always thought of Altus as mobility’s hometown,” said Leard. “It’s the comfortable place that you return to throughout your career and you know you can raise a family the way that you want to. That’s my vision for this base and community; we’re going to be bold and get after the fullness of that.”

This is not Leard’s first time at Altus AFB. Cumulatively, he has been to the 97th for a year and a half while training on the C-17. He said he is excited to return to the hometown feeling of Altus and the welcoming atmosphere of the wing.

As commander of the 97th AMW, Leard will help ensure Altus AFB maintains a worldwide capability to support combat commanders by deploying mission-ready Airmen at a moment’s notice.

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