TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE — In a low-key Sunday morning ceremony described as a fond farewell and a hearty welcome, Brig. Gen. John. C. Flournoy Jr. handed over command of the 349th Air Mobility Wing to his 349th Operations Group commander Col. Matthew Burger.
Flournoy thanked all of the 349th Air Mobility Wing and its supporters in the ceremony and predicted that Burger “is going to be a great commander” of the Air Force Reserve wing.
“Thank you for all of your untiring efforts,” Flournoy told the assembled crowd before passing the colors to Burger.
Burger also thanked the 349th Reservists for the contributions they make to the wing, which he said “inspires me to serve every day.”
While alluding to a major inspection that has already started at Travis, Burger said he was “ready to hit the ground running at a dead sprint” as the wing’s new commander.
For the past two days, Flournoy was technically in command of two major Air Force Reserve units because he had already taken command Friday of the Headquarters Air Force Reserve Personnel Center at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. He will be responsible for personnel support to nearly 1 million Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and retired members.
Burger now runs the largest Reserve Associate Wing in the Air Force. It contains more than 3,100 Reservists flying and maintaining C-17 Globemaster III, C-5 Galaxy and KC-10 Extender aircraft.
Burger started his Air Force career upon graduating from the Air Force Academy in 1990, and has served in various assignments in the active Air Force and the Air Force Reserve. He is a command pilot with more than 4,300 flight hours in HH-1 Iroquois and HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, the KC-135R Stratotanker and C-17 Globemaster III.
Fourth Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Mark A. Kyle presided over the change-of-command ceremony and took the opportunity to thank local community members for their support of the Reserve wing.
Kyle described Flournoy as the best out-front leader with high standards but always seeking the best for those in his command. Kyle said he didn’t like promoting from within an organization, but said Burger is the absolute best choice for the job he is taking on.
To wrap up his time as 349th Air Mobility Wing commander, Flournoy’s last action was to pull out of his uniform pockets and unload a half-dozen communications devices he kept onto the podium, smile and snap a sharp salute to the audience.
As his first duty, Burger said he plans to be on the job Monday to help the 349th ace the operational readiness inspection that the base is undergoing.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.