27th SOW welcomes new commander

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

Members of the 27th Special Operations Wing gathered Feb. 17, 2015, as the guidon was passed from Col. Tony D. Bauernfeind to Col. Benjamin R. Maitre, signifying the changing of command from one commander to another.

Lt. Gen. Bradley A. Heithold, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, presided over the ceremony and touched on his appreciation for Cannon's outstanding team.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I am honored to be sharing this stage with these two incredible Air Commandos,” said Heithold. “I want you all to understand how hard it is to get on this stage in the first place. To be a wing commander in the United States Air Force is quite the feat. Not everyone gets here, but they all want to be here.”

“Colonel Bauernfeind has had the distinct privilege of leading these Airmen, transforming their training and optimizing their performance,” he continued.

Speaking directly to Bauernfeind, Heithold praised his work at Cannon.

“Tony, you have raised the bar here,” he said. “Under your leadership, this wing has excelled in every way: from providing combat ready forces, to modernizing and sustaining the force. You have created a first class environment for our Airmen and their families to thrive.”

Turning his attention to Maitre, Heithold challenged him with a drive for continued wing excellence.

“Colonel Maitre, I expect you to strive for greatness while being a servant leader,” said Heithold. “My challenge to you going forward is to produce the best, most elite Air Commandos you can and ensure you care for each of them. Remember, they do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

As Bauernfeind took the podium, he addressed members of Team Cannon one last time before Maitre assumed the position of 27th SOW commander. “As I leave this podium today, I want you all to know how genuinely proud I am to have been part of this team,” said Bauernfeind. “You have continuously made me proud as the commander of the most relevant wing in the United States Air Force.”

While this change of command marked the end of one chapter for the 27th SOW, Air Commandos and their families exuded excitement for the beginning of another.

For the first time as commander, Maitre addressed his new team, introducing himself to those who will continue to cement Cannon as a premier installation, and laid out his expectations and goals for Air Commandos.

“To the Airmen of the 27th SOW, I thank you and your families for the sacrifices you have made over long hours, days and months that have allowed you and this wing to be what it is today,” said Maitre. “While we as Americans face the many challenges of a dynamic and complex global arena, as Air Commandos, our posture toward those opportunities is ultimately straightforward.”

“I charge each of you to be the best in what you do and who you are, so that this wing may make the most of its most valuable resource, he continued. “I pledge to give you the same in return; as our continued success demands nothing less.”