BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --
Lt. Gen. (select) Mark Weatherington relinquished command of the nation’s bomber force to Maj. Gen. Andrew Gebara during a change of command ceremony at Barksdale AFB, La., today.
The commander of Air Force Global Strike Command officiated the event.
“I am particularly proud of the Eighth Air Force and the Joint-Global Strike Operations Center team,” said Gen. Timothy Ray, AFGSC commander. “I take comfort in the leadership and team that will carry on the bomber tradition.”
Family, friends, local community leaders and Airmen across the enterprise who could not attend the event in person were also able to view the ceremony via video live stream in order to keep in accordance with social distancing guidelines and preventative health measures in response to COVID-19.
In his final moments as commander, Weatherington reflected upon his time within the historic “Mighty Eighth” unit.
“America’s bomber force is second to none -- a testament to the professionalism and dedication of the men and women who maintain, operate, support and direct the free world’s premier long-range strike force,” said Weatherington. “It has been my distinct honor to serve alongside and lead these remarkable Airmen.”
With the passing of the flag, Gebara officially became the 56th commander of The Mighty Eighth, an organization with approximately 21,000 Airmen across six installations, proudly operating more than 150 E-4, B-1, B-2, B-52 and T-38 aircraft.
“There is no doubt U.S. bombers remain and will continue to be in high demand in every area of responsibility across the globe,” said Gebara. “We will continue to be ready to fight tonight, while bridging to the future force our nation needs to keep our country safe.”
As the leader for U.S. bomber forces, Gebara also assumed the role of commander for the Joint-Global Strike Operations Center, which plans and executes strategic deterrence and global strike operations for U.S. Strategic Command air components.
The roles and responsibilities as the leader of the Air Force’s bomber force are many, but Gebara said he remains eager for the challenge and puts faith in his newfound team.