Col. Kevin E. Blanchard took command of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in a military ceremony here Aug. 10.
Lt. Gen. Robin Rand, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander, presided over the ceremony. The symbolic moment occurred when General Rand passed the wing guidon to Colonel Blanchard, effectively handing over command of the 355th Fighter Wing.
“As a combat-ready wing, the 355th FW is going to be led by a great combat-tested warrior,” Rand said. “Colonel Blanchard has had a notable Air Force career, and his skills as a tactician and leader are well-known throughout the Air Force.”
Colonel Blanchard has flown combat and combat support missions in the A-10 in support of operations Southern Watch and Enduring Freedom and was a member of the Combined Joint Task Force-180 Air Component Coordination Element supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and earned a Master of Arts in Strategic Studies from Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
Most recently, Colonel Blanchard was vice commander of the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, where he led more than 2,500 Airmen across five forward operating locations employing, maintaining and supporting a mixed fleet of more than 130 aircraft.
Addressing the men and women of the 355th Fighter Wing during the ceremony, Colonel Blanchard shared his thanks.
“Commanding the 355th FW and serving D-M’s Airmen is an honor I never fathomed would be a reality in my career,” Blanchard said. “I am so proud, honored and humbled to be standing on this stage and I thank you for the opportunity.”