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Conine takes command of the 552nd OG

Col. Rich Land relinquished command of the 552nd Operations Group to Col. Joshua Conine in a change of command ceremony held July 10 in Bldg. 230, Dock 2. Col. Geoffrey Weiss, commander of the 552nd Air Control Wing, was the presiding officer.

In his opening remarks, Weiss talked about the importance of command.

“We cannot perform our mission, we cannot live up to our ideals and values without the principle of command and the amazing leaders who step up to be commanders,” Weiss said.

He went on to comment on the two leaders.

“Rich (Land), you have met and exceeded this challenge during your time in command. You have been a model commander and Airman and trusted confidant. You have truly made this group better and set Colonel ‘Pooch’ Conine up for his own successful command tour,” Weiss said.

“‘Pooch,’ you were my clear number one choice out of a lineup of exceptional officers. You are absolutely the right leader to build on the foundation of excellence Rich has established,” said Weiss. “There are a lot of big challenges and opportunities ahead for this wing, but I have no doubt we’ll thrive with ‘Pooch’ on our leadership team.”

Speaking to his command for the first time as their commander, Conine had two words for them on his feelings when named their commander; honored and humbled.

“I have recently been up close and personal to see what you bring to major combat operations. Alongside your maintenance and control and reporting center teammates, it was nothing short of outstanding. Among all of you I see the finest Airmen the nation provides,” Conine said. “Now is our time to ensure that we are postured to put operational aircraft in the right place at the right time … providing the best battle management and command and control in the world,” Conine said.

He told his people that he is their biggest advocate.

“Maintain a disciplined combat focus and I assure you we will reach unforeseen heights. I look forward to meeting each and every one of you in the coming days. Thank you,” Conine said.

Speaking to his command for the last time, Land had high praise for the men and women of the 552nd OG.

“The past two years have been absolutely incredible,” said Land. “Terri and I have been surrounded by leaders and warriors ready to make the world a safer place and ready to support our Air Force family. I’ve had the honor and privilege to work beside some of the most talented and motivated Airmen and civilians in the Air Force — and the spouse’s network and the support it provides has been world class.  For this, Terri and I present our most humble and sincere thank you,” Land said.

Prior to exchanging the unit guidon, Land was presented the Legion of Merit.