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New commander takes over US Air Force wing at RAF Mildenhall

U.S. Air Force Col. Christopher Amrhein receives his first salute as the commander of the 100th Air Refueling Wing July 21, 2017, during the change of command ceremony on RAF Mildenhall. Photo: US Air Force/Senior Airman Justine Rho

U.S. Air Force Col. Christopher Amrhein receives his first salute as the commander of the 100th Air Refueling Wing July 21, 2017, during the change of command ceremony on RAF Mildenhall. Photo: US Air Force/Senior Airman Justine Rho

US Air Force/Senior Airman Justine Rho

The squadrons which form the US Air Force’s 100th Air Refueling Wing gathered at RAF Mildenhall to welcome a new commander.

Airmen stand in formation during the 100th Air Refueling Wing change of command ceremony July 21, 2017 on RAF Mildenhall. Photo: US Air Force/Senior Airman Justine Rho Airmen stand in formation during the 100th Air Refueling Wing change of command ceremony July 21, 2017 on RAF Mildenhall. Photo: US Air Force/Senior Airman Justine Rho

Col Christopher Amrhein, who most recently served as vice wing commander of the 18th Wing, Kadena Air Base, Japan, took over command from Col Thomas D Torkelson.

During the ceremony the guidon, a military standard, was passed from Col Torkelson to Col Amrhein to symbolise the relinquishing of control.

Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, 3rd Air Force commander and presiding officer, said Col Amrhein and his wife Cathy are the perfect command team, ready to lead the men and women of the 100th ARW to the next level.

“Chris, your amazing career has prepared you well for this opportunity, and I want to be the first to congratulate you as you assume command of the storied and stellar 100th Air Refueling Wing,” he said.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark, 3rd Air Force commander, pins the Legion of Merit medal on U.S. Air Force Col. Thomas D. Torkelson, 100th Air Refueling Wing outgoing commander July 21, 2017, on RAF Mildenhall. Photo: US Air Force/Airman 1st Class Luke Milano U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark, 3rd Air Force commander, pins the Legion of Merit medal on U.S. Air Force Col. Thomas D. Torkelson, 100th Air Refueling Wing outgoing commander July 21, 2017, on RAF Mildenhall. Photo: US Air Force/Airman 1st Class Luke Milano

“You will be called on time and again to perform what would seem to any other flying unit as impossible. But it will just be part of the routine for you and the Airmen of the Bloody Hundredth. I look forward to working with you and Cathy as you begin the exciting journey of leading this wing to continued greatness,”

Addressing the squadrons, Col Amerhein said: “To the Airmen and families of the 100th ARW and Team Mildenhall, it’s my honour to join the team and I am humbled by what you all do every day to get our mission done.

“This wing is the key airpower enabler for two continents and what we do bridges tyranny of distance and provides for persistent presence.

“You are true warrior professionals and my commitment is to give you my best each and every day.”

Col Amrhein was previously a KC-135 instructor pilot and weapons officer, undergraduate pilot training instructor, as well as commander of the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, leading the Air Force’s largest refueling squadron through the intensity of the combat operations temop.

As vice commander of the 18th Wing, he was responsible for the complex and diverse operations for the Air Force’s largest combat wing, and has a keen understanding of the strategic aspects of global reach.

Serving for more than 21 years, Col Amrhein is a command pilot with more than 3,100 flying hours.

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