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86th FTS changes command

Lt. Col. Justin Wetterhall, 86th Flying Training Squadron commander, receives the guideon from Col. Carey Jones, 47th Operations Group commander, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 25, 2020. During the change of command ceremony, Wetterhall received the guideon, rendered his first salute, and discussed the squadron’s future during a quick speech to attendees.

Lt. Col. Justin Wetterhall, 86th Flying Training Squadron commander, gives a speech at his change of command ceremony at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 25, 2020. The 86th Flying Training Squadron, of which Wetterhall took command, is Laughlin’s only flying training squadron focused on cargo and transportation aircraft. The 86th FTS flies the T-1A Jayhawk, and has more than 280 specialized undergraduate pilot training students a year.

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

On Feb. 25, 2020, Lt. Col. Justin Wetterhall took command of the 86th Flying Training Squadron, or the Lobos, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas.

During the change of command ceremony, Wetterhall received the guideon, rendered his first salute, and discussed the squadron’s future during a quick speech to attendees.

“To the mighty 86th—you have been through so much, and yet maintained a sense of mission, humility and lightheartedness that is unrivaled anywhere else in the wing,” he said. “Words can’t explain how grateful I am for the opportunity to be your commander.”

Wetterhall highlighted the hard work of the men and women of the 86th FTS, including the full recovery of the February 2016 hailstorm and the increase in student pilots coming to Laughlin. He now inherits a shift in the squadron from focusing on the health of the fleet, to instructor development and increased manning.

Col. Carey Jones, 47th Operations Group commander,  took time to recognize the hard work and dedication of every Airmen in the 86th FTS during the ceremony, along with receiving Wetterhall and his family into command.

“Welcome to the leadership team Lt. Col. Wetterhall,” said Jones. “You and your wife Kate are no strangers to Laughlin, and we’re excited to have you. Thank you for stepping up to command, and I look forward to seeing the Lobos’ continued success.”

The 86th Flying Training Squadron, of which Wetterhall took command, is Laughlin’s only flying training squadron focused on cargo and transportation aircraft. The 86th FTS flies the T-1A Jayhawk, and has more than 280 specialized undergraduate pilot training students a year.

The 86th FTS’ former commander, Lt. Col. Ryan Dunham, received the Meritorious Service Medal for his two years of service, and also rendered his final salute to the squadron during the ceremony.