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Premier MQ-1, MQ-9 Wing changes hands

Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly, 12th Air Force commander, Col. Case Cunningham, outgoing 432nd Wing commander and Col. Julian Cheater, incoming 432nd Wing commander, salute during the singing of the national anthem at the 432nd Wing change of command July 6, 2017, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. During the event, Col. Cheater assumed command from Col. Cunningham in front of a crowd of Airmen, peers and family members. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class James Thompson)

Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly, 12th Air Force commander, Col. Case Cunningham, outgoing 432nd Wing commander and Col. Julian Cheater, incoming 432nd Wing commander, salute during the singing of the national anthem at the 432nd Wing change of command July 6, 2017, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. During the event, Col. Cheater assumed command from Col. Cunningham in front of a crowd of Airmen, peers and family members. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class James Thompson)

Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly, 12th Air Force commander, presides over the 432nd Wing change of command ceremony July 6, 2017, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. During the event, the general bid farewell to Col. Case Cunningham while welcoming Col. Julian Cheater. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class James Thompson)

Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly, 12th Air Force commander, presides over the 432nd Wing change of command ceremony July 6, 2017, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. During the event, the general bid farewell to Col. Case Cunningham while welcoming Col. Julian Cheater. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class James Thompson)

Col. Julian Cheater assumes command of the 432nd Wing from Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly, 12 Air Force commander July 6, 2017, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. Going forward, Col. Cheater’s priorities are: winning today’s war while preparing for contested environment, developing our Airmen, strengthening our extended Hunter family and empowering our people as they innovate the remotely piloted aircraft community. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class James Thompson)

Col. Julian Cheater assumes command of the 432nd Wing from Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly, 12 Air Force commander July 6, 2017, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. Going forward, Col. Cheater’s priorities are: winning today’s war while preparing for contested environment, developing our Airmen, strengthening our extended Hunter family and empowering our people as they innovate the remotely piloted aircraft community. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class James Thompson)

CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. --

The men and women of the leading MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper wing welcomed their new commander during the 432nd Wing change of command ceremony July 6, 2017, at Creech AFB.  

Col. Julian Cheater assumed command from Col. Case Cunningham in front of a crowd of Airmen, peers and family members while Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly, 12th Air Force commander, presided over the day’s ceremony. During the event, Kelly congratulated the wing on its accomplishments.

“This wing and these Airmen are the most effective force we have,” Kelly said. “No other team of warriors could so skillfully identify friend from foe, effectively remove our enemies from the fight, provide overwatch for our friendlies and leave civilians unharmed. Nothing strikes fear into a terrorist like the Airmen of this wing.”

The general also bid farewell to Col. Case Cunningham while welcoming Col. Julian Cheater.

“For the past two years these 24/7 capabilities have been led by Col. Case Cunningham and as he departs, we welcome Col. Cheater and his family,” Kelly said. “He is the exact leader this wing needs.”

As the outgoing commander, Cunningham, delivered remarks about the pride, professionalism and persistence of the 432nd Wing Airmen.

“This day is an incredibly tough one for me,” he said. “It’s not every day you have to leave the premier combat organization of the United States Air Force, and by scale of impact, the entire joint force. That said, it’s also an exciting day for the wing as you all get ready to be led to even greater heights by an amazing leader.”

Before receiving the final symbolic salute from the 432nd Wing Airmen, Cunningham thanked them.

“Hunters, serving with you in this mission set has been by far the highest honor and privilege of my career,” he said. “I couldn’t be more proud to have served by your side as you protected the values that make our nation great. I thank you all for this privilege and with a heavy heart I say, [Col. Cheater], they’re all yours.”

When the guide-on passed from Cunningham to Cheater, the 432nd Wing received a new leader to continue a mission of providing dominant persistent attack and reconnaissance.

“I am both humbled and honored for this command opportunity as we drive positive changes in the remotely piloted aircraft community,” Col. Cheater said. “There’s no other place on the planet I’d rather be than right here with you.”

Going forward, Col. Cheater’s priorities are: winning today’s war while preparing for contested environment, developing our Airmen, strengthening our extended Hunter family and empowering our people as they innovate the RPA community.