Col. James Vechery, left, and his replacement Col. Dwight Sones, right, participated in the change of command ceremony for the 60th Air Mobility Wing Friday morning at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield. (Mike Greener/Daily Republic)TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE — Col. Dwight Sones took command of the 60th Air Mobility Wing Friday morning, saying Travis is up to the mission of continuing to give the nation its global reach.
“What a blessing it is to work and serve with you,” Sones told a flight line hangar of Travis personnel and civic leaders from the surrounding communities.
The base’s new commander also had praise for the man he took command from, Col. James Vechery.
“It is an honor to follow in your footsteps,” Sones told Vechery. “It is easy to see why Travis is the best in Air Mobility Command.”
Sones was previously commander of the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing based at Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan, which was the top air mobility hub for supporting American and coalition operations in Afghanistan.
He started his Air Force career in 1988 after he was commissioned following his graduation from Pennsylvania State University. His background includes experience in aerial refueling, and strategic and tactical airlift missions. Sones has participated in the Gulf War and has served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Vechery heads next to Scott Air Force Base, Ill., to become Deputy Director of Operations at Air Mobility Command.
Lt. Gen. Robert Allardice, commander of the 18th Air Force at Scott, presided over the ceremony where Vechery handed over the 60th AMW’s flag to Sones and was awarded the Legion of Merit with Oak Leal Cluster in honor of his two years of service running Travis.
Allardice described Vechery and Sones as “two of the finest leaders in the Air Force today,” lauded Vechery for his “extraordinary leadership” and Sones for his work running Manas, which is “so vital to our military effectiveness.”
Vechery took the opportunity to thank the Travis family, the Travis airmen who served under him, describing them as “the warriors who make it happen every day,” and the community leaders who support the base.
He particularly pointed out the work they did helping people evacuated from Japan as a prime example of the Travis family “that came together in a way that was miraculous.”
Sones told the crowd he has watched Travis and its airmen from afar for some time “and your actions speak louder than your words.”
While Sones said the coming years will be a challenge to keep up the excellence Travis has attained in supporting the mission and the base’s families, “Team Travis is up to the challenge.”
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or firstname.lastname@example.org.