ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga – The 461st Air Control Wing received a new leader during a change of command ceremony, here, July 7.
Col. Adam Shelton took the reins of the wing from Col. Michelle Carns, who is set to retire from the Air Force this August.
“Missions, personnel, organizational constructs and equipment are all evolving as our service enters the interwar period,” Shelton said. “However, this wing is yet an example of the complexities facing our service and how, during times of evolution, we have to reimagine and re-tool what makes us great.”
Maj. Gen. Michael Koscheski, commander of the 15th Air Force at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, presided over the ceremony. He highlighted Carns’ successes during her tenure and welcomed Shelton to the Liberaiders family.
“Our Airmen deserve outstanding leadership, which is what they will get with Col. Adam ‘Digger’ Shelton,” Koscheski said. “He shaped the future of the Air Force by authoring the first-ever Common Mission Control Center concept of operations and steered major battle management advancements and test plans… With his wealth of experience, he’s uniquely positioned to lead this wing into the future of battle management command and control.”
Shelton took the podium and addressed his wing, Team Robins personnel and community members for the first time.
“To the men and women of the 461st Air Control Wing, it is not lost on anyone the amount of change this organization has undertaken over the last few years,” Shelton said. “You have been blessed to have incredible command teams that truly had your backs and worked endlessly to shape the future of this wing.”
Shelton also highlighted the wing’s mission and how it can support Agile Combat Employment, also known as ACE. According to Air Force Doctrine Note 1-21, ACE is a “proactive and reactive operational scheme of maneuver executed within threat timelines to increase survivability while generating combat power.”
“We accomplish this through evolving globally accessible distributed control capabilities, providing deployable ready air traffic control capabilities, or via new emerging targeting nodes to assist in deep penetrating target prosecution,” he said. “The future is bright here at the 461st Air Control Wing and our mission is needed now, more than ever.”
As an Air Force tradition, an E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft name change ceremony was also held, where Senior Airman Dakota Greear, an aircraft structural maintainer with the 461st ACW, switched the aircraft’s name to Shelton’s, symbolizing his assumption of command.
The 461st ACW falls under 15th Air Force and Air Combat Command as its higher headquarters and is the Air Force's only active-duty E-8C JSTARS wing.
Robins Air Force Base is in the process of divesting the E-8C JSTARS aircraft as it is standing up four new mission sets. Two of those missions stood up earlier this year: the 728th Battle Management Command and Control Group and the E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node aircraft, otherwise known as BACN, under the 18th Airborne Command and Control Squadron. Robins Air Force Base will also be receiving a spectrum warfare group and the Advanced Battle Management Family of Systems.