NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. â€” Brig. Gen. (select) Steven Garland relinquished command of the 99th Air Base Wing to Col. Barry Cornish during a Change of Command ceremony on June 15.Â The 99th ABW is responsible for Nellis Air Force Base, Creech Air Force Base and the Nevada Test and Training Range.
The ceremonial passing of the 99 ABW guidon had Col. Cornish, the former Vice Commander of Nellisâ€™ 57th Wing, assume command of the 99 ABW as Brig. Gen (sel) Garland moves on to take command of the 36th Wing at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
Maj. Gen. James Hyatt, U.S. Air Force Warfare Center commander, presided over the ceremony, held at the U.S. Air Force â€œThunderbirdsâ€ Aerial Demonstration Squadronâ€™s hangar.
During the ceremony, Maj. Gen. Hyatt presented Brig. Gen. (sel) Garland with a Legion of Merit award for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievement.Â The Legion of Merit is sixth highest decoration in precedence among U.S. military decorations.
Brig. Gen. (sel) Garland expressed his pride and honor in having served as the 99 ABW Commander.Â He highlighted the importance of the wing to Nellis and the Air Force as a whole.
â€œAlthough the 99th isnâ€™t called the Expeditionary Mission Support Wing, thatâ€™s pretty much exactly what we are,â€ Brig. Gen. (sel) Garland said, â€œWe exist to ensure that the 432d [Air Expeditionary Wing] can rain down death and destruction on our enemy; we exist so the 57th [Wing] can prepare our Air Force to win tomorrowâ€™s victories; and we exist to protect the NTTR for the development of advanced tactics training, and the vital testing that we do in the creation of next generation capabilities.â€
Brig. Gen. (sel) Garland also outlined several of the accomplishments of the 99th men and women over the last 2 years: during the period, the wing grew Nellisâ€™ former Mike Oâ€™Callaghan Federal Hospital into the only Federal Medical Center in Air Combat Command, channeled $5.1 billion worth of economic impact into the local economy,Â and oversaw $465 million worth of military construction as part of a $1 billion effort to support missions and infrastructure ranging from enhancements to global Remotely Piloted Aircraft operations, to bed-down of the F-35, which will enable the 57th Wing to â€œlead the chargeâ€ on fielding and improving the nationâ€™s fifth-generation aircraft capability.
â€œIn short, Nellis is the heart and soul of our Air Force, and the 99th Air Base Wing is the life support system that feeds that heart and soul,â€ Garland said.
Brig. Gen. (sel) Garland also expressed his appreciation to the surrounding community, its civic and business leaders, members of the Nellis Support Team, and the baseâ€™s Honorary Commanders. He noted that over the last two years, Nellis received $2.4 million in direct donations and event tickets from the Southern Nevada community, which directly improved the lives of Airmen and their families, enhancing their ability to accomplish the mission, and thanked the community for its vital and ongoing support.
To the men and women of the 99th Air Base Wing, Brig. Gen. (sel) Garland said, â€œIâ€™m honored to have been a part of the 99th, and to have been one of you.â€
After assuming command, Col. Cornish remarked that he was â€œproud and excitedâ€ to take on the role.
â€œI am strengthened by my love for this storied and magical place called Nellis,â€ he said. â€œIt is, and always will be, the historic â€˜Home of the Fighter Pilot,â€™ and has grown to become the legendary â€˜Home of the Warfighter,â€™ as well. It is the Air Power Center of Excellence, the birthplace of tomorrowâ€™s victories, and the anvil upon which Airmen have been steeled and strengthened for over 60 years.â€
Col. Cornish cited the continuing partnership of the community in providing an â€œindispensableâ€ operations venue for the U.S. military and its allies. Quoting General Bill Creech, the namesake of Creech AFB, he said, â€œso goes Nellis, so goes the Air Force.â€
Since joining the Air Force in 1990, Col. Cornish served as an instructor pilot, weapons officer, operational test pilot, and operations officer. He was chief of staff for the Joint Special Operations Component Command at Camp Liberty, Iraq and commanded the 67th Fighter Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. He is a command pilot with over 2,200 hours flying the F-15 Eagle, AT/T-38 Talon and T-37 Tweet.
The 99 ABW oversees an area of approximately 12 thousand square nautical miles of airspace and 2.9 million acres of land, which represents over 40 percent of the Air Forceâ€™s land withdrawn for Air Force use to focus on military activities which include tactics, testing and training.