DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Col. Christopher Hawn took the reigns of the 489th Bomb Group during a change of command ceremony here, July 13, 2019.
Hawn, the former director of operations for the unit, brings more than 20 years of experience as an officer and more than 3,000 flight hours as a bomber pilot to the position. He is also a graduate of the Air Force Academy and has served as a war planning strategist at the Pentagon.
Col. Steven Kirkpatrick, 307th Bomb Wing commander, expressed his appreciation for Hawn’s contributions to the Air Force and the 489th BG in a speech to the crowd of onlookers at the ceremony. He also thanked outgoing commander, Col. Brian McClanahan, for his guidance and leadership for the 489th BG.
Hawn urged the Reserve Citizen Airmen in the audience to look to the past for inspiration during his inaugural speech as 489th BG commander, by recalling the response of the Air Force bomber community in the months and years following the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.
“As we reflect on the past missions, with nearly two decades of combat operations that spawned countless giants, some of whom sit among us here today, there are so many lessons we have learned,” said Hawn.
He then pivoted to a forward looking stance, addressing the need for preparation and quality training.
“Our future has yet to be written, our next call to action unknown. If history has taught us anything, it is that you must be ready,” said Hawn.
Hawn recognized several members of the 489th for their outstanding efforts as a gesture designed to remind the assembly of the individual Reserve Citizen Airmen’s importance in mission readiness and reform. Hawn presented each Airman recognized with a commander’s coin immediately following the change of command ceremony.
Tech. Sgt. Joseph Ford III, Senior Airman Kyle Peffley, Staff Sgt. Matthew Windmann, Tech. Sgt. Kevin Parnell, Tech. Sgt. Nelson Hernandez, Staff Sgt. Shane Furnish, all of the 489th Maintenance Squadron, and Master Sgt. Dagoverto Aguilar of the 489th Aerospace Medicine Flight were included in the presentation.
Aguilar was recognized for outstanding performance in a deployed location. Hernandez received accolades for his efforts in training both Reserve and active-duty Airmen and advancing the readiness of both groups. Ford, Peffley, Windmann, Parnell and Furnish all contributed to getting the 489th BG fleet mission ready by troubleshooting, repairing and fabricating millions of dollars’ worth of parts for jets and various pieces of maintenance equipment.
Hawn expressed his appreciation for their efforts and made a promise to all the Reserve Citizen Airmen of the unit.
“I am truly humbled and honored to have this opportunity to serve as your commander. Take care of the mission and let me take care of you,” he told the assembly.
The 489th BG, which flies the B-1 Lancer, is part of the 307th Bomb Wing, the only bomber wing in the Air Force Reserve Command. It is also the only bomber wing in the Air Force currently flying both the B-1 Lancer and the B-52 Stratofortress.