JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO – LACKLAND, Texas --
Lt. Col. James Wright took command of the 57th Intelligence Squadron, 363rd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing, 25th Air Force, July 14. Lt. Col. Paul Harmer relinquished command, and Col. Michael Johanek, director, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, U.S. Air Force Warfare Center, and commander, 365th ISR Group, officiated the ceremony.
Changes of command can be bitter sweet occasions, Johanek said in his remarks.
“Like any change in life, there is a little bit anxiety… a little bit of anxiousness that the incoming commander and the squadron feels. What’s it going to be like? How is this going to work?” he said. “And then there is also the poor person who is going out the door. Lots of accomplishments, lots of things that you did. Probably a few things you wish you had still done.
“The men and women that you see here before you in formation have a sense of purpose and pride in what they do, executing their mission to produce data that’s necessary to power all of our aircraft, all of our systems, our mission planning systems, not just for the United States, but for our partners as well,” he said.
Johanek expressed his confidence in the new commander and his ability to lead the Hellcat Nation.
“We do a pretty good job in the Air Force with the process of selecting new leaders who are up to the task, up to the challenge we set before them,” he said. “James is certainly ready for that challenge. I know with the love and support of his family, he will be ready to answer that call and complete that challenge and task every day.”
The squadron’s new commander addressed his Airmen before offering his first salute.
“I look forward to leading the Hellcats and continuing the traditions that Paul has put in place,” said Wright.
In welcoming a new commander, the 57th also bids farewell to the officer who formed the foundation for the new squadron. Johanek applauded the outgoing commander for the work he has accomplished building the Hellcat identity.
“In this case, Paul Harmer, who we have had the privilege to have command the 57th these last two years, you can walk out the door knowing you that you did a job well done.”
In his remarks, Harmer reflected on his tenure and encouraged the newly assigned commander.
“Our journey started in February 2015, with the creation of a new ISR wing, a new ISR group and a new 57th Intelligence Squadron,” he said. “The trek has been amazing, and I call it a trek because it has been uphill almost the whole way.
“Lt. Col. Wright, I am pleased to hand you a squadron that is full ops capable and, more importantly, all the processes are in place and the foundation is solid,” Harmer said. “I think you guys can move forward in confidence.”
Harmer and his family will transition to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, where he will become the deputy director of engineering, Headquarters Air Force Material Command. Harmer has been selected for promotion to the rank of colonel.
The 57th Intelligence Squadron’s mission is to provide premiere signal analysis and foundational intelligence to Joint and Allied partners to empower spectrum warfare dominance, even in contested, degraded and operationally limited environments. In other words, the Hellcats protect and defend the United States from adversaries by assisting military aviators in determining if assets they encounter are friend or foe, confirming or eliminating targets.