NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. --
Airmen assigned to the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center and affiliated units were joined by Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, and local community members today at the Thunderbirds hangar at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, to welcome the new USAFWC commander during a change of command ceremony, July 13.
Maj. Gen. Glen VanHerck, USAFWC commander since March 2016, handed over command to Maj. Gen. Peter Gersten during a ceremony that celebrated the Warfare Center’s accomplishments while recognizing the Airmen and their families behind the testing, training and tactics that the Warfare Center conducts daily.
VanHerck, who will soon depart to Washington, D.C. as the Joint Staff Requirement’s deputy director, spent his time thanking the Warfare Center and reaffirming to Gen. Holmes that they are headed in the right direction as a key provider of combat airpower for America, with Airmen committed to excellence and trained to fly, fight and win.
“It’s been an incredible privilege and honor to serve with the Warfare Center staff each and every day,” said VanHerck. “You are incredible Airmen doing incredible things for this nation. You guys are the ones leading our Air Force into the future.”
VanHerck revolutionized the planning and execution of Air Force combat operations. USAFWC efforts advanced the F-35 Lightning II’s development and continued a legacy of producing valuable training and innovation to its Airmen.
“Nobody does it better than the Warfare Center,” said VanHerck. “Growing leaders is one of my big focuses and that’s what this place does.”
Maj. Gen. Gersten is also a command pilot with more than 2,800 flight hours and more than 400 combat hour over Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Bosnia with fighter and remotely piloted aircraft. Prior to his current assignment, he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Programs leading a staff of military and civilians in the development, integration, evaluation and analysis of the Air Force Program across the Future Years Defense Plan.
“I’m overwhelmed to be here”, said Gersten. “As I’ve traveled the world, everyone looks to the Warfare Center and are in awe of what they produce.”
The USAFWC has an important mission of developing leaders and full spectrum capabilities through responsive, realistic and relevant testing, tactics development and training across air, space and cyberspace domains. Gersten’s message to his new Airmen was simple.
“To the men and women of the Warfare Center, there is much to do,” said Gersten. “Let’s get after it.”