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4th Fighter Wing Change of Command
U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Lawrence Wells passes the guidon to Col. Jeannie Leavitt during the 4th Fighter Wing change of command ceremony on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., June 1, 2012. Leavitt was the first woman to enter combat training as a fighter pilot and the first female fighter pilot to graduate weapons school. Wells is the 9th Air Force commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Aubrey Robinson/Released)
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4th FW holds historic change of command

Posted 6/1/2012   Updated 6/1/2012 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Chuck Broadway
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

6/1/2012 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- Col. Jeannie Leavitt assumed command of the 4th Fighter Wing from Col. Patrick Doherty during a change-of-command ceremony at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., June 1, 2012.

Maj. Gen. Lawrence Wells, 9th Air Force commander presided over the ceremony.

"With the departure of one leader, we welcome a new one," Wells said. "Colonel Leavitt has an innovative spirit, a talent for teamwork and this will be essential to lead the 4th FW to new heights. This change of command ceremony reminds us of what we have today: great commanders, leading great warriors."

Leavitt comes to Seymour Johnson from Washington, D.C. where she was assigned to the Central Intelligence Agency as a Chief of Staff of the Air Force Fellow. She was assigned to Seymour Johnson on two other occasions. During her first four years, she served as an instructor pilot, Assistant Chief of Weapons and Standards and Evaluations for the 336th Fighter Squadron. During her second stint here, she commanded the 333rd Fighter Squadron among other duties.

"If you've ever dreamed of being a part of something bigger than yourself, then realize that you have that opportunity now," Leavitt said to her Airmen after assuming command. "You're creating the next chapter in 4th FW history and our continued success depends on each and every one of you. I can't say enough about Colonel Doherty for building such a fine, professional organization."

Once she took hold of the guidon, Leavitt became the first female to lead an Air Force fighter wing; one of many firsts in Leavitt's groundbreaking career.

"The men and women of the 4th FW will remain in strong, steady and sure hands," Wells said. "Colonel Leavitt brings a leadership style that enhances and promotes commitment to service and a track record of successes. She is the right person to pick up where Colonel Doherty left off. The 4th FW's performance will continue to have a direct impact on our nation's security."

Under Doherty's command, the 4th FW generated more than 21,000 total sorties, 5,000 of which were in combat. Doherty oversaw the largest amount of construction in base history as well, with improvements to military family housing, dormitories and the airfield all completing under his command. In the past two years, the wing was presented with more than 100 awards for excellence at the major command and Air Force levels.

"The thing I'm most proud of is the wing's fighting spirit in the face of adversity," Doherty said in his final speech to the 4th FW. "We've fought through adversity with the sole intent of making ourselves better. What this team has accomplished is eye-watering. I have the greatest respect for all of you."

Doherty departs the 4th FW en route to become the director of assignments for the Air Force at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.

6/1/2012 6:24:30 PM ET
I am so proud of Colonel Leavitt I used to be stationed at the SJAFB Command Post from 1982-1985 and experienced a lot of negativity from the males in the command post because I had more professionalism and knowledge than they did in their little pinky. I was proud to serve the Wing Commander then who was Col. Huggins. I just missed Gen. Yeager yes Chuck Yeager. I am so happy that there is a female Wing Commander finally The USAF is finally recognizing the professionalism and knowledge that women have within them.
Cynthia A. Koehler, Dawson County GA
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