JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
Col. Erik Hansen took command of the Air Force's largest C-17 wing during a change of command ceremony March 29 at Joint Base Charleston, S.C.
Colonel Hansen officially assumed command of the 437th Airlift Wing from the outgoing wing commander, Col. John Wood, who has commanded the wing since May 2009.
Colonel Hansen is assuming command of the 437 AW after a tour as a Chief of Staff Fellow with duties at the U.S. Department of Transportation. Colonel Hansen is a graduate of Brigham Young University and was commissioned in 1990. During his first assignment, Colonel Hansen flew the KC-135R before being selected as a C-17A Initial Cadre Pilot with the 17th Airlift Squadron at Charleston Air Force Base in August 1994. As a command pilot, Colonel Hansen has vast operational experience in all aspects of the global air mobility mission including tanker and aerial refueling operations, airdrop, short-field assault landings, night vision goggle operations and aerial port operations. Colonel Hansen has also commanded the 5th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron at Abdullah Al Mubarak Airbase, Kuwait City, Kuwait.
Following the change of command, Colonel Wood will assume command of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.
In his last time addressing Team Charleston members, Colonel Wood said, "I hate to leave. My family and I have been so lucky that we have such a great team here in Charleston ... the 315th Airlift Wing, the 628th Air Base Wing and of course the best wing in the Air Force, the 437 AW.
"When you leave something you love, you want to leave it in the best hands possible, someone who will make things even better. Colonel Hansen is going to make the 437 AW even better."
Commander 18th Air Force, Lt. Gen. Robert Allardice presided over the ceremony and highlighted the accomplishments of Team Charleston during Colonel Wood's tenure.
"Colonel Wood has done an extraordinary job here at Charleston," General Allardice said. "If you turn on the news, you will see Team Charleston is involved in events all around the world. From Haiti, to the recent tsunami in Japan, to the no-fly zone recently enacted over Libya, the 437 AW, under the leadership of Colonel Wood, has achieved every mission they've been assigned."
General Allardice presented Colonel Wood with the Legion of Merit for his outstanding leadership. Colonel Wood then relinquished his command as the unit's guidon was passed on to Colonel Hansen.
After assuming command and receiving his first salute as the commanding officer of the 437 AW, Colonel Hansen said, "I look forward to meeting all of the men and women of the 437 AW. Your work and support is legendary. As we continue to do the mission, we will continue to take care of our Airmen, both professionally and personally, so they can also continue to successfully accomplish the mission."
Colonel Hansen closed his remarks by saying, "I am proud to be an Airman. I am proud to be in the Air Force and I am proud to be in Charleston."