The 52nd Fighter Squadron, part of the 944th Fighter Wing, celebrated a major milestone by holding their first ever F-35 change of command ceremony on Oct. 29, 2021, since being reactivated earlier this year at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.
During the ceremony, Reserve Citizen Airman Lt. Col. Wyckliffe ‘Slammer’ Furcron, 52nd Fighter Squadron outgoing commander, relinquished command, inviting Lt. Col. William ‘Grind’ Wisehart, incoming commander, to assume leadership of the squadron.
Reserve Citizen Airman Col. Brett Comer, 944th Operations Group commander, presided over the event and recognized Furcron for his leadership.
“Slammer is a very detail orientated fighter pilot with a lot of great ideas,” Comer said. “He is highly intelligent, an excellent leader, and an awesome instructor pilot. Slammer, it’s been an honor working with you. I wish you nothing but the best, well done.”
Furcron thanked those that helped him and looked back on what his team accomplished.
“We have assembled the most talented group of pilots, I think, there stands to be,” Furcron said. “Grind, you’re obviously the right man for the job. I know you got a vision and I know you got 40 Ninjas behind you. Bonzai.”
Comer spoke about what impressed him about Wisehart and provided him some foresight.
“Grind rose to the top of my list,” Comer said, when tasked to pick his next fighter squadron commander. “He instantly impressed me not only with his resume, but with his intelligence and ability to breakdown complex problems. I want you to know that you are about to embark on a very challenging yet rewarding journey. I’m so excited to see where you take the Ninjas next.”
Wisehart will be responsible for over 35 full and part-time F-35 Lightning II instructor pilots. The 52nd FS is the newest fighter squadron within the 944th Operations Group, having grown from a detachment to a squadron approximately three months ago. Previously, the squadron had been deactivated since June 1951.
“Over the past few weeks I’ve been asked by many good friends if I was excited,” said Wisehart. “I knew in my heart excited didn’t really capture my feelings. Honored, humbled, and hopeful. These three words better captured my heart leading up to this day. To my brother Ninjas, I am honored to be your servant leader.”