OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --
A crowd of aircraft maintainers, weapons loaders and munitions Airmen gathered to say goodbye to the outgoing 51st Maintenance Group commander, Col. Michael T. Hammond, and to say hello to their incoming 51st MXG commander, Col. James T. Vinson, during a change of command ceremony July 20, 2018.
As Col. William Betts, 51st Fighter Wing commander, presided over the ceremony, Hammond said his farewell to his former unit.
“I can’t thank the group enough with the opportunity to lead, it’s been an honor to serve you,” said Hammond. “Today, my hat is off to you, and I am proud to be of service to joint command teams.”
As he reflected on his previous assignments leading Airmen, he mentioned the tight bond formed throughout his two years as the MXG commander.
“This is the finest group I’ve ever been associated with,” said Hammond.
He rendered his final salute to the group and the guideon was passed on to Vinson.
“My family and I are truly grateful for the warm welcome,” said Vinson. “"Let there be no mistake about why I'm here, and why you're here. While our challenges around the world are great, our Airmen are greater. You represent a competitive advantage our adversaries can only dream of. I’m so proud to be here, and I can’t wait to meet each of you."
Vinson, who was the deputy commander of the 8th Maintenance Group at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea from July 2015 to 2016, then rendered his first salute to the 51st MXG as their new commander.
He was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program in June of 1996. A career aircraft maintenance officer, he served in a variety of positions at Wing, Major Command, Headquarters Air Force, and Office of the Secretary of Defense levels.
Vinson’s previous assignment was military deputy, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Supply Chain Integration in Washington D.C.