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944th FW welcomes new commander, bids farewell to Cook

Amidst displays of the full airpower arsenal of the 944th Fighter Wing, Col. Bryan E. Cook, 944th FW outgoing commander, relinquished command to Col. James Greenwald, 944th FW incoming commander, during a change of command ceremony here, May 4, 2019.

Col. James Greenwald, 944th Fighter Wing commander, salutes Col. Trena Savageau, 944th Operations Group commander, May 4 during the 944th FW change of command ceremony here at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Tyler Bolken)

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Amidst displays of the full airpower arsenal of the 944th Fighter Wing, Col. Bryan E. Cook, 944th FW outgoing commander, relinquished command to Col. James Greenwald, 944th FW incoming commander, during a change of command ceremony here, May 4, 2019.

Friends, family, community members, and men and women of the 944th and 56th Fighter Wings attended the morning ceremony, presided over by Maj. Gen. Ronald Miller, 10th Air Force Commander.

Cook, a Des Moines, Iowa native, took command of the 944th FW two years ago. During his command he oversaw the unit’s largest overseas deployment in more than decade and ensured full unit readiness. In recognition for these and many other accomplishments, Cook was presented the Legion of Merit for his service while leading the 944th FW.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you have done,” Miller said to Cook.

In accepting the award, Cook, thinking of his troops, asked them to step into the hangar out of the Arizona sun before he continued speaking.

“When I stood up here two years ago, I said ‘I need you to be ready, I need you to develop your Airmen, I need you take care of the total force enterprise’,” said Cook. “You guys have absolutely killed it!”

Cook went on to thank friends, peers, staff members, and his family.

“We have three pillars that we stand on -- leadership, heritage, and family,” said Cook. “The 944th is truly a family I will take with me forever.”

Miller expressed his appreciation for Cook and said he will be missed, while also letting Greenwald know he is excited to have him as the new commander.

“We are counting on you,” Miller said to Greenwald. “It is going to be a lot of fun.”

Greenwald stated his gratitude for this opportunity and everybody that has been a part of leading him to this point.

“There are too many folks to list that I owe gratitude to. Thank you for the trust and believing in me,” said Greenwald.

To the members of the 944th Fighter Wing, Greenwald expressed his enthusiasm for leading the wing.

“I am here to work for you to earn your respect, your trust, your comradeship, and to earn my place on your team. I cannot wait to get started – let’s get to work!”