JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD The change of command is a military ceremony deeply rooted in history and tradition, dating back to the time of Frederick the Great of Prussia.
When Soldiers followed their leaders into battle, their flag was used as a point around which members of the unit rallied during the pandemonium of battle. The modern ceremony is similarly symbolic. The passing of the flag symbolizes the transfer of the authority of the commander.
The men and women of the 1st Air Support Operations Group welcomed Col. James Bowen Jr., who assumed command from Col. Bruce Beyerly during a change of command ceremony, May 27, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Members of the 1st ASOG, your reputation is stellar; it is well-known and hard earned, Bowen said. I am incredibly honored to be joining your ranks today, and I am unbelievably humbled at the opportunity to lead you all.
Bowen assumed command of more than 550 active duty military and civilian personnel from four squadrons and four detachments that provide combat-ready tactical air control party and battlefield weather assets to combat units. The group advises the Army on United States and Allied aerospace power, warfighting doctrine and capabilities. It also integrates close air support, airlift and reconnaissance assets into joint battle plans.
Bowen graduated from the University of Virginia in 1991 and began his career as an acquisition officer before transitioning to the F-15E Strike Eagle as a weapons system officer. He served on the Air Staff as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisitions Global Power Programs and commanded the 604th Air Support Operations Squadron in the Republic of Korea.
With more than 1,100 flying hours in the F-15E, Bowen joins the 1st ASOG having participated in combat operations Northern Watch, Allied Force and Iraqi Freedom. He said he looks forward to his new responsibilities.
General Mark Welsch has made it abundantly clear that the United States Air Force is committed to the close air support mission, Bowen said. When our nation and our joint partners call on us, we will be there.
After thanking JBLM military leaders, Pacific Northwest civic leaders and his family, he said he was ready to get to work.
I am so excited to be joining Americas Corps, Bowen said. I look forward to working with this team over the next several years. Its going to be a blast.