Air Combat Command receives new leadership

U.S. Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry O. Spencer passes the Air Combat Command guidon to Gen. Hawk Carlisle during ACC’s change of command ceremony at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 4, 2014. Carlisle assumed command from Gen. Mike Hostage, who retired after 37 years of service to the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Candice Page/Released)

U.S. Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry O. Spencer passes the Air Combat Command guidon to Gen. Hawk Carlisle during ACC’s change of command ceremony at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 4, 2014. Carlisle assumed command from Gen. Mike Hostage, who retired after 37 years of service to the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Candice Page/Released)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Hostage renders one of his final salutes as commander of Air Combat Command to U.S. Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry O. Spencer during the change of command ceremony at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 4, 2014. Hostage also retired after 37 years of service in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Candice Page/Released)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Hostage renders one of his final salutes as commander of Air Combat Command to U.S. Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry O. Spencer during the change of command ceremony at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 4, 2014. Hostage also retired after 37 years of service in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Candice Page/Released)

The 633rd Air Base Wing Honor Guard presents the colors at the Air Combat Command Change of Command ceremony at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 4, 2014. U.S. Air Force Gen Hawk Carlisle assumed command of ACC from Gen. Mike Hostage, who retired after 37 years of service to the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Candice Page/Released)

The 633rd Air Base Wing Honor Guard presents the colors at the Air Combat Command Change of Command ceremony at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 4, 2014. U.S. Air Force Gen Hawk Carlisle assumed command of ACC from Gen. Mike Hostage, who retired after 37 years of service to the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Candice Page/Released)

U.S. Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry O. Spencer, salutes Air Combat Command Airmen during ACC’s change of command ceremony at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 4, 2014. Gen. Hawk Carlisle took the reins as ACC’s commander after serving as the commander of Pacific Air Forces, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, for more than two years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Areca T. Wilson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry O. Spencer, salutes Air Combat Command Airmen during ACC’s change of command ceremony at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 4, 2014. Gen. Hawk Carlisle took the reins as ACC’s commander after serving as the commander of Pacific Air Forces, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, for more than two years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Areca T. Wilson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. James N. Post III, vice commander of Air Combat Command leads the command’s Airmen in offering a salute as the National Anthem plays during the ACC change of command ceremony at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 4, 2014. Gen. Hawk Carlisle assumed command from Gen. Mike Hostage, who retired after more than 37 years of Air Force service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Areca T. Wilson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. James N. Post III, vice commander of Air Combat Command leads the command’s Airmen in offering a salute as the National Anthem plays during the ACC change of command ceremony at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 4, 2014. Gen. Hawk Carlisle assumed command from Gen. Mike Hostage, who retired after more than 37 years of Air Force service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Areca T. Wilson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Hostage, former commander of Air Combat Command, addresses the crowd during the ACC change of command ceremony at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 4, 2014. Hostage relinquished command of ACC to Gen. Hawk Carlisle and retires from the Air Force after 37 years of service.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Areca T. Wilson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Hostage, former commander of Air Combat Command, addresses the crowd during the ACC change of command ceremony at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 4, 2014. Hostage relinquished command of ACC to Gen. Hawk Carlisle and retires from the Air Force after 37 years of service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Areca T. Wilson/Released)

Joint Base Langley-Eustis Airmen stand at attention during the Air Combat Command change of command ceremony at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 4, 2014. U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Hostage relinquished command of ACC after serving as commander for more than three years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Areca T. Wilson/Released)

Joint Base Langley-Eustis Airmen stand at attention during the Air Combat Command change of command ceremony at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 4, 2014. U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Hostage relinquished command of ACC after serving as commander for more than three years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Areca T. Wilson/Released)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James speaks to Joint Base Langley-Eustis personnel during the Air Combat Command change of command ceremony at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 4, 2014. U.S Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisle took command of ACC, assuming responsibility for organizing, training, equipping and maintaining combat-ready forces for rapid deployment and employment while ensuring strategic air defense forces are ready to meet the challenges of peacetime air sovereignty and wartime defense. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Areca T. Wilson/Released)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James speaks to Joint Base Langley-Eustis personnel during the Air Combat Command change of command ceremony at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 4, 2014. U.S Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisle took command of ACC, assuming responsibility for organizing, training, equipping and maintaining combat-ready forces for rapid deployment and employment while ensuring strategic air defense forces are ready to meet the challenges of peacetime air sovereignty and wartime defense. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Areca T. Wilson/Released)

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- The men and women of Air Combat Command welcomed a new commander during a change of command ceremony here Nov. 4.

Gen. Hawk Carlisle assumed command of ACC from Gen. Mike Hostage before a standing room only audience in the 27th Fighter Squadron hangar. Guests included Airmen, community leaders, and civilian and military dignitaries including Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, former Secretaries F. Whit Peters and Mike Wynne, and former and current Major Command, Numbered Air Force and wing commanders, as well as the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Larry Spencer, who presided over the ceremony.

Gen. Spencer hailed the command's efforts, noting that "combat contingencies operations have been a way of life" and with ACC's role as the primary force provider of combat air power to America's warfighting command "none of it would be possible without Air Combat Command."

"The Air Force is able to project combat air power around the globe 365 days a year," Gen. Spencer said. "It is the most feared Air Force on the planet and that's because of you."

Secretary James acknowledged that same effort and attributed ACC's ability to deliver 100 percent of combatant commander's requirements while also leading the command through recovery from the FY 2014 government shutdown to Gen. Hostage's "leadership, guidance and management of the Combat Air Forces."

"Mike Hostage is not someone who can be [easily] replaced," Secretary James said. "He has been a tireless leader, dedicated and committed to excellence and has indeed ushered that into ACC through a very tough and challenging budget time in our Air Force history."

In his final address to the Airmen of ACC, Gen. Hostage expressed confidence about the future.

"As I prepare to hang up this uniform for the last time, I am comforted in knowing that strong, brave American Airmen like you will continue to defend us while your families quietly endure their sacrifices."

He also thanked Airmen for their service, which allows the greater society to enjoy freedom and liberty.  "Thomas Jefferson once wrote, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. I am proud to have served with you and I thank you for maintaining that vigilance."

Secretary James noted that the command will gain another great leader in Gen. Hawk Carlisle.

"Fortunately for our Air Force, we have another great leader ready to take the reins," James said. "He has commanded at all levels and at a number of key staff positions, really knows what it takes to be successful in the combat business and has all the tools in his toolbox to be able to take this command to an even higher level."

Citing his vast responsibilities in the Pacific Air Forces Command, Secretary James noted Gen. Carlisle's success in leading Air Force activities covering 100,000,000 square miles, 13 time zones and including approximately 60% of the world's population in 36 separate nations. James specifically lauded PACAF's timely humanitarian response to super typhoon Haiyan, which devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines in November 2013.

"I think you will agree, Hawk Carlisle is a pretty cool guy," James said.

Gen. Carlisle's first official act upon taking command was to order the attending troops at ease. He followed by offering thanks for the opportunity to continue to lead America's Airmen.

"You have entrusted me with our nation's greatest treasure, her sons and daughters. Please rest assured that I will do everything in my power to be worthy of leading those incredible Airmen; to care for them and their families and to continue their legacy of excellence."

With a nod to his longtime friend, Carlisle congratulated the Hostages on their career, and pledged to take care of ACC's Airmen and the important mission they carry out.  "You have my solemn promise that I will continue your work ensuring that ACC remains part of the most capable and lethal Air Force on the planet."

Gen. Carlisle also paid tribute to the legacy of Langley AFB and the Hampton Roads area in its role in Air Force and aviation history.

"This field where we sit today is truly home to heroes. Heroes like Billy Mitchell, who in 1921, demonstrated air power when he sank the Ostfriesland and Robin Olds, the triple fighter ace.

"When I talk about heroes, I am not only referring to our proud and distinguished past. Take a look around you. These are the current day heroes standing among us; those whose stories we know and those whose stories remain to be written. ACC Airmen continue to conduct missions in all corners of the globe, including here at home."

The general predicted that "the demand for airpower will continue to rise" and the only way for us to be successful is together."

"The American people expect us to hold to our core values and live up to the legacy of those who have come before us and continue to carry the torch. Our Airmen are what make us the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen. This field is home to heroes and I am humbled to stand before them today," Gen. Carlisle said.

Gen. Carlisle, a 1978 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, is a command pilot with more than 3,600 flying hours in the AT-38, YF-110, YF-113, T-38, F-15A/B/C/D, and C-17A.

In addition, he has commanded at a fighter squadron, an operations group, two wings and a numbered air force. Gen. Carlisle is a joint service officer and served as the Chief of Air Operations, U.S. Central Command Forward in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, director on Air Staff, Operational Planning, Policy and Strategy, Deputy Chief of Staff for Air, Space and Information Operations, Plans and Requirements, and twice in the Plans and Programs Directorate. He also served as Deputy Director, and later, Director of Legislative Liaison at the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans and Requirements, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.

The general was last stationed at ACC as the commander of the 1st Operations Group at Langley AFB from June 1998 to March 2000.