KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
Maj. Gen. Craig L. La Fave took command of 22nd Air Force from Maj. Gen. John P. Stokes during a change of command ceremony Nov. 14.
Maj. Gen. Richard W. Scobee, deputy commander of Air Force Reserve Command, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, officiated the ceremony. He spoke of his confidence in La Fave’s abilities to command 22nd AF.
In turn, La Fave expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to serve as commander.
“I am both honored and humbled to take command today to serve alongside the world’s finest Airmen,” said La Fave. “These Airmen, in many capacities, have been executing continuous combat operations for more than 26 years.”
During the ceremony, the new commander outlined his goals for the numbered Air Force.
“We will fully embrace the Air Force values of integrity, service and excellence as we continue to provide combat forces to serve our nation,” said La Fave. “We are going to develop our Airmen to have a full spectrum of readiness, and to highlight that we’re also going to care for our families.”
As commander of 22nd AF, headquartered at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia, La Fave is responsible for more than 17,000 reservists across 30 locations, to include 16 units and three special Department of Defense missions: aerial spray, fire suppression and weather reconnaissance. The 403rd Wing is a unit of 22nd, and the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron “Hurricane Hunters” is the only Air Force unit responsible for this special mission. The 403rd Wing also conducts tactical airlift and airdrop, aeromedical evacuation and agile combat support.
La Fave is a command pilot with more than 5,000 flying hours and previously served as the mobilization assistant to the deputy chief of staff for Strategic Plans and Requirements, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. Prior to that assignment, he spent three years at Keesler AFB, Mississippi as the 403rd Wing's vice commander, and the mobilization assistant to the commander of 2nd Air Force from October 2013 to January 2015.
La Fave spoke of his intent to modernize 22nd AF and shape it into a powerful force for the 21st century. He also emphasized his commitment to ensure 22nd AF continues to support the Air Force mission to fly, fight and win.
“Our adversaries would be wise to take note that the 22nd Air Force will not rest,” said La Fave. “We will fiercely continue to execute our missions against them, and we’ll do what we can, from a 22nd Air Force perspective, to maintain air, space and cyberspace superiority and protect our national interests. We will not fail in that endeavor.”
The change of command ceremony took place in conjunction with the 22nd AF Senior Leader Summit, which was hosted by the 403rd Wing for wing commanders and command chiefs from Nov. 13-16, 2017. The summit serves as an opportunity for 22nd AF senior leaders to interact with one another in a face-to-face setting and share ideas to help improve leadership and cohesion across the command.