307th Bomb Wing gets new commander

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Col. Steven Kirkpatrick, 10th Air Force director of staff, became the new commander of 307 Bomb Wing during a change of command ceremony Sunday. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

By Stacey Tinsley, stinsley@bossierpress.com

Col. Steven Kirkpatrick, 10th Air Force director of staff, became the new commander of 307 Bomb Wing during a change of command ceremony at Barksdale Air Force Base Sunday.

Kirkpatrick replaced outgoing wing commander, Col. Robert W. VanHoy, who is taking a position with Pacific Air Forces Command. 

Before the change in command portion of the ceremony took place, outgoing Col. VanHoy addressed members of the audience one last time.

“Thank you for letting me be a part and lead this extraordinary wing. May God bless the nation, the wing, and the people here, ”said Col. VanHoy. “This is not goodbye. We will cross paths again. Lead on, lead great and giddy up.”

307th leaders chat prior to the beginning of the change of command ceremony Sunday. Col. Steven Kirkpatrick, center, became the new commander from Col. Robert VanHoy, right. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

Following the change in command portion of the ceremony, Col. Kirkpatrick addressed the audience with his first speech as the new commander of 307 Bomb Wing.

“My family and I are very blessed to take on this new assignment. A lot of you don’t know me, but this is definitely a homecoming to me. I started my career here. I have missed this place a lot. And now I’m back here 15 years later. And I couldn’t be happier to be back,” said Col. Kirkpatrick. 

“There are so many people to thank, but this isn’t about me. This is about the men and women of the 307th and all of the people here that helped me get to this position. I could not be happier,” he added. 

The 307th Bomb Wing, the only bomber wing in the Air Force Reserve Command, has nuclear-certified combat squadrons and also serves as the Air Force’s sole training site for all current and prospective B-52 Stratofortress aircrew.  It is the only wing in the Air Force currently running two bomber platforms, the B-52 and the B-1 Lancer.