command photo

Col. Jay Johnson (right) assumes command of the 71st Flying Training Wing March 25, 2021, at Hangar 199 at Vance Air Force Base. Presenting the wing guidon is Maj. Gen. Craig D. Wills, 19th Air Force commander.

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — Col. Jay Johnson assumed command of the 71st Flying Training Wing in an assumption-of-command ceremony March 25 at Hanger 199.

Maj. Gen. Craig D. Wills, 19th Air Force commander, presided over the ceremony.

Wills presented the wing guidon to Johnson signifying a formal transfer of authority for the airmen, civilians and contractors of the 71 FTW to the new commander.

“To the men and women of Vance, my wife and I promise to be open and transparent, to treat you with dignity and respect, and to pour our hearts and souls into you and your families and the mission,” Johnson said. “Vance Air Force Base in Enid, America, is a special place and I appreciate your trust and confidence in allowing me to be here.”

Johnson takes charge after two years as the vice wing commander of the 71st FTW. His service and leadership experience spans several key operational and staff positions at the squadron, wing, and joint staff levels.

He is a command pilot with more than 3,300 hours flown in the T-37 Tweet, T-1A Jayhawk, T-6A Texan II and KC-10 Extender.

Johnson graduated from San Francisco State University and received his commission as a distinguished graduate from the University of California at Berkeley in 1999.

He is a recipient of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters.

“We appreciate all you’ve done, and most importantly what you’ll continue to do,” said Wills to a formation of airmen representing the 71st FTW.

“Congratulations on your assumption of command. While the people and mission of Vance are not new to you, you have a new opportunity to lead our airmen and to shape our future.”

Vance Air Force Base is one of three Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training bases in the Air Force. Vance trains Air Force and allied student pilots for worldwide deployment and Aerospace Expeditionary Force support.

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