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Campbell takes command of 97th Airlift Squadron

Passing of the guidon

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Mark H. Boyd, 446th Operations Squadron commander, left, presents the 97th Airlift Squadron guidon to Lt. Col. Robert Campbell Jr., 97th Airlift Squadron commander, right, symbolizing new leadership during a change of command ceremony held at Heritage Hill on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Aug. 1, 2020. The event, broadcasted live to Facebook, held limited seating to comply with Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee’s statewide mask mandate and social distancing guidance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Erb)

three pilots

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Campbell Jr., 97th Airlift Squadron incoming commander, (left), Lt. Col. Mark H. Boyd, 446th Operations Group deputy commander, (center), and Lt. Col. Kevin Peterson, 97th Airlift Squadron outgoing commander, (right), participate in the 97th AS change of command ceremony where Campbell took command at Heritage Hill on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Aug. 1, 2020. Boyd presided over the ceremony. The 97th is the oldest combat unit of the 446th Airlift Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Erb)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --

Lt. Col. Robert Campbell Jr., assumed command of the 97th Airlift Squadron here Aug. 2 in a ceremony presided by Lt. Col. Mark H. Boyd, 446th Operations Group deputy commander.

“Your perseverance and ability to balance work and life are the reasons you are here,” said Boyd during the broadcasted ceremony. “Rob, you are resilient, and I am counting on you, the Roos are counting on you.”

The pandemic prevented a large gathering for the ceremony, but both outgoing and incoming commanders thanked and noted that the success of putting together the change of command event is a great example of the ongoing accomplishments of the 97th AS in its ability to adapt to change.

“Colonel Skipworth, Colonel Boyd, thank you for the vote of confidence, for your trust and for this awesome responsibility,” said Campbell. “And thank you for this opportunity to lead; I am going to do my best.”

Campbell thanked the outgoing squadron commander, Lt. Col. Kevin Peterson, for his leadership and the hand-off of command.

“Kevin, you are leaving behind big shoes,” Campbell said. “Thank you for leaving the 97th in such a great state. The morale is high, and the people are of incredible talent and fired up; I’m excited!”

Campbell served as an aircraft commander, prime nuclear airlift force instructor pilot, Air Force One advance agent as well as chief of the commander’s action group in the 62nd Airlift Wing here. In 2004, Campbell was selected to fly the C-17A Globemaster III with the 62nd AW’s 4th Airlift Squadron. Since joining the Air Force Reserve in 2008, Campbell has served as a flight commander, operational readiness inspection readiness assessment team deputy and chief executive officer for 97th AS.

Campbell is a command pilot with more than 4,200 hours on T-37B Tweet, T-44 Pegasus, MQ-1 A/B Predator and C-17A aircraft.

The event was broadcasted live on the 446th Airlift Wing Facebook Page - www.facebook.com/446thAW.