JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. —
U.S. Air Force Airmen and civilians from the 1st Fighter Wing welcomed their new commander during a change of command ceremony June 23.
U.S. Air Force Col. Jason Hinds assumed command of the wing which is comprised of six squadrons with more than 1,300 members who employ and sustain worldwide rapid deployment of over 40 F-22 Raptor aircraft.
Upon assuming command following the passing of the colors, a time-honored military tradition, Hinds addressed the wing.
“Men and women of the 1st Fighter Wing, 100 years ago our organization grew its roots in a foundation of values we still hold today,” he said. “I promise I’ll give my all every day and provide the leadership our Airmen deserve. The first wing is ready, will always be ready and will once again be first to the fight.”
Hinds is a command pilot with more than 2,100 flying hours, earned primarily in the F-22 Raptor and F-15C Eagle aircraft. He also previously served at the wing where he acted as the 27th Fighter Squadron director of operations and the 94th Fighter Squadron commander before departing Joint Base Langley-Eustis in 2013.
Before assuming command, Hinds served as vice commander at the 57th Fighter Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Scott J. Zobrist, 9th Air Force commander, presided over the ceremony where he welcomed Hinds to his new command.
“Hinds’ flying and leadership experience at all levels makes him the right leader for this wing at a time where it’s continuously engaged around the world,” Zobrist said. “He is a perfect leader to build on the successes of the leaders [who] came before him, and I know he’ll take this wing to the next level. [Colonel Hinds], welcome to 9th Air Force and the 1st Fighter Wing and congratulations on taking command of this outstanding wing of Airmen before you.”
The Airmen and civilians of the 1st FW also bid farewell to Col. Peter “Coach” Fesler, who relinquished command after two years of service. During the ceremony, Fesler welcomed his successor to the storied wing.
“This is the 1st Fighter Wing,” he said. “They trace their lineage back 100 years, but they don’t rest on their laurels. I can’t wait to see where you take them.”
Next, Fesler gave his parting thanks to the Airmen and civilians he led during his time at the wing.
“Men and women of the 1st fighter wing: thank you. You never flinched. Not when I challenged you with exercises. Not when faced with continuously shifting schedules. Not even when the jets didn’t cooperate and hurricanes got in our way,” he continued. “The world is an unstable, dangerous place. You have to get [your mission] right. From everything I’ve seen here, you will.”
Fesler will continue his career at Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as the North American Aerospace Defense Command operations director.