Colonel Sean Pierce assumed his role as the 446th Airlift Wing’s newest commander following a change of command ceremony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Saturday.
Pierce brings with him a breadth of experience specific to the 446th AW’s mission, having previously served as the 446th Operations Group commander for two years.
Relieving command is Col. Scott McLaughlin, who served honorably as the 446th AW’s commander for more than three years and will be assuming a new role as the 4th Air Force chief of staff at March Air Reserve Base, Calif.
Major General Randall Ogden, 4th Air Force commander, officiated the ceremony and is one of Pierce’s earliest Air Force mentors dating back 15 years.
“When you have a leader like Col. Sean Pierce coming, you can all be confident that you have a leader (who) is more concerned about his Airmen than any accolades he might receive,” Ogden said.
Pierce’s speech at the ceremony echoed this ethos as he shared his vision for the 446th AW.
“One of the key things I’ve learned from mentors like General Ogden is that an effective leader is often a servant leader,” Pierce said. “The concept of servant leadership inspires others to lead and strengthens an organization by building up the people around us. As leaders, we don’t seek the power that our positions provide us, but rather we seek to empower those around us.”
Pierce also brings a vast diversity of experience with him to his new role as wing commander.
“He’s been a pilot in so many different weapon systems,” Ogden said of Pierce, “from helicopters to tankers, to tactical airlift and hurricane hunters. He also has experience serving in the Pentagon on the air staff, which has given him a broad perspective and makes him an even better leader with that understanding of strategic level decisions and resource allocation issues that we face.”
As the 446th AW transitions to new leadership, its Airmen will also remember McLaughlin fondly as a leader who always demonstrated and emphasized the importance of mutual respect.
“Colonel McLaughlin has a reputation for being an extremely talented leader, but (he is) also one who cares for people and has great respect for others no matter what their background may be,” Ogden said. “I think he does that because he thinks it’s the right thing to do, but it also makes our Air Force stronger.”
McLaughlin left the 446th AW with a great deal of gratitude for the hard work his Airmen dedicated to the wing during his time as commander.
“When I assumed command in 2014, I shared the thought that the first responsibility of a leader is to define reality, and the last is to say thank you,” McLaughlin said.
“I’ll leave you to judge how well I defined reality for 446th Airlift Wing; however, I will say that I enjoyed tremendous support from our Airmen in taking a hard look on how we did our business during my time in command.”