New commander takes reins at USAFCENT
By Senior Airman Jonathan Bass, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 02, 2015
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Lt. Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. assumed command of U.S. Air Forces Central Command from Lt. Gen. John W. Hesterman III during a ceremony here June 29, 2015.
The ceremony was officiated by U.S. Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, U.S. Central Command commander, who travelled to Shaw from his headquarters in Tampa, Florida, for the event.
"It is totally awesome to be here today," Brown said to the group of more than 300 Airmen, community leaders and distinguished visitors, including representatives from coalition partner nations Qatar, Egypt and Jordan, at the ceremony. "To have Airmen in formation representing not just AFCENT but all the Airmen from all the nations that operate together in the Central Command area of responsibility is amazing."
Brown, who was promoted to lieutenant general earlier that morning, inherits an organization that works closely with its partners in Southwest Asia to ensure the stability of the region. In addition to serving as USAFCENT commander, he is also the Combined Force Air Component Commander for the theater.
An F-16 pilot by trade, Brown has commanded a fighter squadron, the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, and two fighter wings. Most recently he served as the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa director of operations, strategic deterrence, and nuclear integration at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
Originally from San Antonio, Tex., the general commissioned in 1984 after attending Texas Tech University on an Air Force ROTC scholarship. He thanked many people for his continued successes including his family, the Sumter community, and Austin for his trust and confidence.
Austin, in his speech, praised Hesterman for his leadership and expressed confidence that Brown, who previously served as USAFCENT deputy commander from April 2013 to August 2014, was a great pick to replace him.
"I am confident that you are more than up to the task," Austin said of Brown.
"(General Hesterman) deserves a lion's share of the credit for the great success achieved thus far," Austin said about Operation Inherent Resolve, the campaign against ISIL in Iraq and Syria. "This air campaign will surely go down in history as one of the most complex and well-coordinated air campaigns in the history of warfare. The air campaign would not be what it is today and we would not be where we are in terms of effects that we have achieved against this enemy were it not for your incredible leadership, your mastery of the art of air power, your unparalleled professionalism, and your formidable ability to build, lead, and strengthen winning teams."
For his part, Hesterman will move on to the Pentagon where he will serve as the director of the Air Staff and the U.S. Air Force assistant vice chief of staff.