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Laughlin welcomes new commander

U.S. Air Force Major General Patrick Doherty, 19th Air Force commander, presents the guideon to Col. Charles Velino, incoming 47th Flying Training Wing commander, during the wing’s change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017. Prior to taking command of the 47th FTW, Velino served as the 15th Operations Group commander at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

U.S. Air Force Major General Patrick Doherty, 19th Air Force commander, presents the guideon to Col. Charles Velino, incoming 47th Flying Training Wing commander, during the wing’s change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017. Prior to taking command of the 47th FTW, Velino served as the 15th Operations Group commander at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

U.S. Air Force Col. Michelle Pryor, 47th Flying Training Wing vice commander, renders a salute in formation at the wing’s change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017.  Col. Pryor is a command pilot with more than 2,000 flight hours and oversees the base’s operations and undergraduate pilot training program.

U.S. Air Force Col. Michelle Pryor, 47th Flying Training Wing vice commander, renders a salute in formation at the wing’s change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017. Col. Pryor is a command pilot with more than 2,000 flight hours and oversees the base’s operations and undergraduate pilot training program.

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. George Richey, 47th Flying Training Wing command chief, stands at ease with the wing’s guideon during the 47th Flying Training Wing’s change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017.  Chief Richey has served at the operational and strategic leadership levels with positions at the flight, squadron, and Headquarters Air Force levels.

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. George Richey, 47th Flying Training Wing command chief, stands at ease with the wing’s guideon during the 47th Flying Training Wing’s change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017. Chief Richey has served at the operational and strategic leadership levels with positions at the flight, squadron, and Headquarters Air Force levels.

U.S. Air Force Col. Thomas Shank, outgoing 47th Flying Training Wing commander, relinquishes command to Maj. Gen. Patrick Doherty, 19th Air Force commander, during the wing's change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017. The passing of the guideon symbolizes the ceremonious passing of responsibility and command from one party to another.

U.S. Air Force Col. Thomas Shank, outgoing 47th Flying Training Wing commander, relinquishes command to Maj. Gen. Patrick Doherty, 19th Air Force commander, during the wing's change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017. The passing of the guideon symbolizes the ceremonious passing of responsibility and command from one party to another.

Various groups across Laughlin Air Force Base stand and render a first salute to U.S. Air Force Col. Charles Velino, incoming 47th Flying Training Wing commander, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017.  Velino assumes command of a base that began its pilot training program in 1947.

Various groups across Laughlin Air Force Base stand and render a first salute to U.S. Air Force Col. Charles Velino, incoming 47th Flying Training Wing commander, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017. Velino assumes command of a base that began its pilot training program in 1947.

Audience members observe the 47th Flying Training Wing’s change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017. U.S. Air Force General Lori Robinson, North American Aerospace Defense Command commander, and Major General Patrick Doherty, 19th Air Force commander also attended the event.

Audience members observe the 47th Flying Training Wing’s change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017. U.S. Air Force General Lori Robinson, North American Aerospace Defense Command commander, and Major General Patrick Doherty, 19th Air Force commander also attended the event.

Outgoing commander, U.S. Air Force Col. Thomas Shank gives remarks during the 47th Flying Training Wing’s change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017.  Col. Shank, a command pilot with over 3,000 flight hours, directed the Air Force’s largest training operation, which exceeds over 80,000 flying hours and 54,000 sorties.

Outgoing commander, U.S. Air Force Col. Thomas Shank gives remarks during the 47th Flying Training Wing’s change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017. Col. Shank, a command pilot with over 3,000 flight hours, directed the Air Force’s largest training operation, which exceeds over 80,000 flying hours and 54,000 sorties.

The 47th Flying Training Wing welcomed its new commander during a change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017. U.S. Air Force Col. Charles Velino assumed command of a base that began its pilot training program in 1947.

The 47th Flying Training Wing welcomed its new commander during a change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017. U.S. Air Force Col. Charles Velino assumed command of a base that began its pilot training program in 1947.

Laughlin Air Force Base’s Honor Guard stands at attention during the 47th Flying Training Wing change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017.  The Honor Guard, along with attendees and distinguished visitors, helped Laughlin welcome its incoming commander, U.S. Air Force Col. Charles Velino.

Laughlin Air Force Base’s Honor Guard stands at attention during the 47th Flying Training Wing change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017. The Honor Guard, along with attendees and distinguished visitors, helped Laughlin welcome its incoming commander, U.S. Air Force Col. Charles Velino.

Newly appointed commander of the 47th Flying Training Wing, U.S. Air Force Col. Charles Velino, has his name revealed on the side of a T-6 Texan II during the wing’s change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017.  The T-6 is the wing’s primary training aircraft, which is flown by all undergraduate pilot students.
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Newly appointed commander of the 47th Flying Training Wing, U.S. Air Force Col. Charles Velino, has his name revealed on the side of a T-6 Texan II during the wing’s change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017. The T-6 is the wing’s primary training aircraft, which is flown by all undergraduate pilot students.

U.S. Air Force Col. Charles Velino, incoming 47th Flying Training Wing commander, speaks to those attending the wing’s change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017. Col. Velino, is the former 15th Operations Group commander at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and is a former Laughlin undergraduate pilot trainee.
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U.S. Air Force Col. Charles Velino, incoming 47th Flying Training Wing commander, speaks to those attending the wing’s change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017. Col. Velino, is the former 15th Operations Group commander at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and is a former Laughlin undergraduate pilot trainee.

U.S. Air Force Major General Patrick Doherty, 19th Air Force commander, observes the audience for the 47th Flying Training Wing’s change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017.  General Doherty is a command pilot with more than 3,800 flying hours, and commands more than 32,000 personnel.
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U.S. Air Force Major General Patrick Doherty, 19th Air Force commander, observes the audience for the 47th Flying Training Wing’s change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Tx., June 28, 2017. General Doherty is a command pilot with more than 3,800 flying hours, and commands more than 32,000 personnel.

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

The 47th Flying Training Wing welcomed its new commander during a change of command ceremony June 28.

U.S. Air Force Col. Charles Velino assumes command of a base that began its pilot training program in 1947.

Prior to taking command of the 47 FTW, Velino served as the 15th Operations Group commander at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.  The 15 OG directs all activities to ensure combat readiness of over 280 personnel assigned to four operational squadrons.  In this position, he also oversaw operations at the largest joint-use airfield in the United States.

“I am very excited to be back here at Laughlin Air Force Base,” said Velino. “This place changed my life over 20 years ago, and left me with a love of airplanes—ready to fly, fight and win.”

With Velino’s history as a former Laughlin undergraduate training pilot, he is able to directly understand and connect with the base’s mission.

“We are trusted to make pilots,” said Velino.  “In a very short time they find themselves operating around the world, needing to be ready to go into a combat environment.”

U.S. Air Force Major General Patrick Doherty, 19th Air Force commander, presiding officer of the ceremony, shared similar views with Velino on the important mission Laughlin has for the Air Force.

“The Air Force is not letting you down,” said Doherty. “They sifted and found a superior leader to follow in the footsteps of Col. Shank, and that’s Col. Velino.”

After the change of command, Laughlin also said its farewells to the outgoing commander, U.S. Air Force Col. Thomas Shank.

“We have the best airspace, the best weather, and the best men and women here at Laughlin,” said Shank. “I had the honor and privilege of serving six groups here at Laughlin.”

During his speech, Shank vocalized how much Laughlin impacted his life and after completing more than 3,000 flying hours he will be officially retiring from the Air Force.

“You all are doing the greatest job every day, and you have never faltered,” said Shank.  “I can brag all day about the men and women of this great base, all 2,800 of you who are out there doing the J.O.B., training the world’s greatest military pilots, developing resilient Airmen, and deployable ready warriors.”