ERIN THOMPSON

Air Force Change of Command | 1st Heli & 316th OSS | Joint Base Andrews

Military Session

June 28, 2023

Every two years or so, squadron leadership transitions from one commander to the next. This particular celebration was a special one though, as two squadrons who work very closely together experienced their change of command on the same day. The dual Air Force change of command ceremony for the 1st Helicopter Squadron and the 316th Operations Support Squadron was held in a hangar at Joint Base Andrews. This event marked the transition of leadership from Lt Col Root to Lt Col Andrews in the 1st Heli, and from Lt Col Shea to Lt Col Powell in the 316th OSS. It was an exciting day and a joy to photograph.

Air Force Change of Command Ceremony

As a helicopter wife myself, I was especially excited to document this occasion. We started the day with family photos for each of the commanders. Huey families can never have enough photos with the aircraft, so I positioned everyone near the helicopters. With the hangar doors open, I was pleased to have lots of natural light while technically shooting inside. As we wrapped up family photos, guests were arriving and it was time to begin the ceremony.

After the playing of the National Anthem, Col Ross made some opening remarks. He then presented each outgoing commander with a Meritorious Service Medal for outstanding service during their time in command. They each gave their final salute as commander and then the symbolic passing of the guidon represented the transfer of authority.

The ceremony was a testament to the commitment and dedication of both units. Lt Col Andrews and Lt Col Powell assumed command, ready to lead their respective squadrons and position them to carry out their missions. The smooth transition of leadership showcased the rich tradition of the Air Force. I was thrilled to be part of it!

If you have an upcoming Air Force Change of Command ceremony or another military event, I would be honored to capture the occasion for you. With my personal connection to the military, I feel strongly about preserving these moments. Let’s chat about how we can make this happen for you.

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