New commander to take reins of 12th AF, AFSOUTH

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- The President of the United States nominated Air Force Maj. Gen. Mark D. Kelly for promotion to lieutenant general, and command of Twelfth Air Force and Air Forces Southern.

He replaces Lt. Gen. Chris Nowland who has been selected to become the next Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations at the Pentagon.

Kelly most recently served as commander, Ninth Air Force at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. He was also the commander of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, and has commanded two other wings, the 354th Fighter Wing at Eielson AFB, Alaska, as well as the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C. He is a command pilot with more than 5,500 flying hours, primarily in the F-15E, F-16 and F/A-18.

As commander of 12 AF (AFSOUTH), Kelly will be responsible for seven active duty wings, one direct reporting unit for contingency operations, and will oversee 15 gained Air Reserve Component units totaling more than 360 aircraft and 20,300 Airmen. As the air and space component to U.S. Southern Command, he will also lead Air Forces Southern, which conducts security cooperation and provides air, space and cyberspace capabilities throughout the 31 nations of Latin America and the Caribbean.

A change of command ceremony will take place Oct. 3, 2016 at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.