Col. Cooper takes command of 461st ACW

  • Published
  • By Jenny Gordon
  • Robins Public Affairs
Robins welcomed Col. John Cooper, 461st Air Control Wing commander, during a change of command ceremony Monday. 

"It is an unqualified privilege and honor to command the 461st Air Control Wing, a unit that has contributed so richly to our nation's defense," said Cooper. "I'm proud to be one of you, and on behalf of my family, thank you for the warm welcome we've already received." 

Having just arrived less than two weeks from the Korean Peninsula's Air Operations Center, Cooper added, "Let me assure you, the capabilities that this wing brings to bear are critical ... you are the men and women who deliver that game-changing air power to our combatant commanders." 

Cooper was formerly chief of strategy with the 607th Air Operations Center at Osan Air Base, Korea. 

A command pilot with more than 3,300 flying hours and over 230 hours of combat experience, he joins Team JSTARS, a unit which recently surpassed 100,000 combat flying hours in support of operations in U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility.

Cooper has flown the RC-135, UV-18B Twin Otter and the E-3 AWACS.

Presiding over the ceremony was Maj. Gen. H.D. Polumbo Jr., Ninth Air Force commander. 

Former 461st ACW commander Col. Henry Cyr, retired after 26 years of service, 17 of those with Team JSTARS. Prior to his retirement, he was awarded the Legion of Merit.