New commander takes reins of 12th AF, AFSOUTH

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(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Adam Grant)

Lieutenant Gen. Chris Nowland took the reins of 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) in a ceremony Dec. 19 at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

“I am very humbled to have an opportunity to affect the 12th Air Force community in helping to produce the ready warriors needed to fight the threats faced by our nation,” the general said. “I look forward to working with our community leaders across all of the wings to help make our 12th Air Force community stronger and more resilient while fostering an attitude of thinking of others, which really translates into being a good wingman.”

Nowland takes over from Lt. Gen. Tod Wolters, who will become the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans and Requirements, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. Air Combat Command Commander Gen. Hawk Carlisle presided over the ceremony.

Nowland comes to Arizona from Miami, where he was the Chief of Staff, U.S. Southern Command. In that job, he was responsible for successfully integrating and synchronizing the efforts of nine directorates and 16 special staff offices in support of the combatant commander’s Theater Campaign Plan.

His familiarity with the AFSOUTH mission gives him unique insight into the challenges and opportunities which now await him as the organization’s new leader.

“We are all products of our past experiences,” he said. “Over these past 29 years I’ve walked a mile in some of your shoes. Clearly I have not experienced all of your [occupations], but we do all share common attributes. I understand how hard our Airmen work and thank you for your strong work ethic, but I also remember how much fun your walk can be.”

In the new position, Nowland will wear two hats, one as commander of Air Forces Southern which fosters cooperation with partner-nation air forces throughout the 31-counntry area of responsibility comprising Latin America and the Caribbean. Also, as commander of 12th Air Force, he will be responsible for the combat readiness of eight active-duty wings, including the 355th Fighter Wing also located at Davis-Monthan, and one direct reporting unit. 12th Air Force’s subordinate commands operate more than 680 aircraft with more than 55,000 uniformed and civilian Airmen.

The general is a 1985 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has commanded at the squadron and wing levels, and has more than 3,600 flying hours primarily in the F-15A/C/D, T-37B, T-38A/C and A/T-38B.