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101st AOG conducts change of command ceremony

  • Published
  • By Maj. Andrew Scott
  • 101st Air and Space Operations Group

Command of the 101st Air and Space Operations Group exchanged hands in a change of command ceremony held here on Jan. 5.


During the ceremony, an age-old military tradition of passing of flags symbolized the leadership change as Col. Michael Valle assumed command of the 101st AOG from Col. Brian Johnson. Brig. Gen. James Eifert, Florida Air National Guard commander, presided over the ceremony.


“Accomplishing the mission, developing our Airmen and caring for their families, and building community partnerships were your (Colonel Johnson) priorities and your team accomplished them magnificently,” said Eifert. “Thank you Colonel Johnson for your outstanding leadership and thank you men and women of the 601st for your incredible work! Now we turn to Colonel Valle to carry the standard into an exciting future.”


Prior to becoming the 101st AOG commander, Colonel Valle served in several positions at the 601st Air Operations Center, including the Chief of the Combat Operations Division and Chief of the Combat Plans Division.


“I’m extremely humbled and honored to be standing in front of you today and have this opportunity to take command of this outstanding organization,” said Valle. “I’m ready to be your commander, I’m ready to lead. So I’ll finish with this, there are some words that I take very seriously and try and live my life so to bring honor to those words every day: husband, father, brother, friend, and today I add commander to that list.”


The ceremony not only marked a change in leadership at the AOG but also a big change in Johnson’s life, as he retired after more than 25 years of dedicated service to both the United States Air Force and Florida Air National Guard.


“So to Colonel Valle, I offer my congratulations – I know you will be a tremendous commander,” said Johnson.


Then he expressed his gratitude to the members of the 101st AOG.


“Any success I’ve experienced as a commander is only due to your dedication and selfless support. It’s been my honor to be your commander and I wish all of you the best in the future.”


The 101st AOG is a Florida Air National Guard unit that provides forces to the 601st AOC to fulfill its critical mission of defending the homeland. The 101st AOG was officially activated July 1, 2009.


The 601st AOC is responsible for detecting, deterring, defending and if necessary, defeating any aviation threat to the citizens of the continental United States and to U.S. critical infrastructure.


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