The 56th Operations Group changed leaders July 25 as Col. John Hanna relinquished command to Lt. Col. William Bailey during a change of command ceremony held at Luke Air Force Base.
Prior to his arrival to Luke, Bailey served as the chief of operations branch in the Current Operations Division at North American Aerospace Defense Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.
Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, presided over the ceremony.
“Lieutenant colonel Bailey, you are here at a critical point in Luke’s history,” Pleus said. “You’ve deployed three times and wrapped up almost 500 hours of combat time to include time as a squadron commander in the Fujin’s. You’ve held operational and staff jobs, and on top of it all, you’ve been an instructor at Luke Air Force Base. So I think you’ve got it down. I think you’re ready to rock and roll.”
Bailey graduated from University of Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in finance in 1990 before graduating from University of Denver with a master’s degree in business administration in 1993. Thereafter, he received his commission in 1994 from Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
Bailey’s career includes four combat deployments in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Southern Watch, commanding the 4th Fighter Squadron and being the director of operations for the 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill AFB, Utah.
After accepting the unit flag, Bailey addressed the crowd.
“General Pleus, Colonel Sloan, fellow group commanders, community partners and men and women of the 56th Operations Group, I look forward to serving with you,” he said. “It is an absolute honor and privilege to be here at Luke and help shape the future of our Air Force.”