JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. – The 437th Airlift Wing welcomed its new commander, Col. Robert Lankford, during an assumption of command ceremony at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, May 12.
The 437th AW commands a fleet of 41 C-17A Globemaster III aircraft, providing worldwide support of operations including the airlift and airdrop of forces, equipment and supplies. The missions range from humanitarian airlift relief for victims of disasters to special operations.
Lankford most recently served as the commander for the 62nd Operations Group at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
“Adrienne and I are honored to re-join the 437th AW family,” said Lankford. “This is our third assignment to South Carolina and we feel like we’ve come home. As we move forward, the 437th AW will continue to innovate in order to meet the challenges that will arise as we keep pace with an evolving security environment. This will force us to look at how we train our Airmen to ensure we can fulfill today’s missions while adapting to ensure success in the future and I know the Airmen of the 437 AW are up to the challenge.”
Maj. Gen. Kenneth T. Bibb Jr., 18th Air Force commander, officiated the ceremony.
“To the men and women of the 437th AW, I am so proud of what you do every day,” said Bibb. “Your wing plays a critical role in global reach. In the military we have been talking a lot about readiness for the high-end fight. You prepare for that fight every day. You are our nation’s 911 response force ready to respond when our nation, or any citizen, is in danger.”
Bibb added that the 437th AW carried 15 percent more Tanker Airlift Control Center missions than the next closest wing, thanking the Airmen for their hard work and dedication while welcoming Lankford back to Charleston.
“We are very lucky to have Col. Lankford leading the wing, I am excited to see where he takes it,” said Col. Chris Robinson, 437th Airlift Wing vice commander. “It has been the honor of a lifetime to lead the world’s greatest Combat Airlift Wing. I am so proud of our Airmen that I can’t accurately articulate it. I will also always be grateful for the incredible support the Airmen of the 437th AW have from the local community, and our partners in the 628th Air Base Wing and 315th Airlift Wing. It is the synergy of these partnerships that has allowed JB Charleston to have on outsized impact on the DOD and our nation’s defense for so many years.”
Lankford commissioned through the Air Force ROTC program at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte in 1998. He has operational and combat experience as a C-17A pilot, air liaison officer and B-1B weapons systems officer.
“I am thankful for our partners in the 315th AW and 628th ABW and look forward to keeping those relationships strong,” said Lankford. “They are what makes Joint Base Charleston special and why we enjoy great support from our local community.”