374th Airlift Wing changes command

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  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office

Col. Richard McElhaney assumed command of the 374th Airlift Wing from Col. Andrew Roddan during a change of command ceremony at Yokota Air Base, Japan, July 9.

Lt. Gen. Ricky Rupp presided over the ceremony and the event was attended by family members of the incoming and outgoing commanders, members of the 374th Airlift Wing and community members from across and off base.

“I stand here at this podium today with one last opportunity to say thank you for this command and for the experience with so many people,” said Roddan, 374th AW outgoing commander. “Our partnerships are what make us strong. America is a mighty nation, but we don’t work alone. We build and maintain teams that succeed around the world and nowhere is that more critical than right now, here in the Indo-Pacific.”

Under Roddan’s leadership, the 374th AW expanded mental health resources, prioritized education and development, and advanced Department of Defense initiatives.

During Roddan’s tenure, the wing demonstrated exceptional global mobility by performing over 20,000 sorties to transport critical supplies and personnel across the Indo-Pacific region. It executed the longest running humanitarian airlift operation, Operation Christmas Drop, delivering 66,000 lbs of aid to 58 islands. Overall, he led 27 theater-wide exercises and operations with 15 nations, including the largest ever bilateral exercise with India.

The change of command ceremony is a tradition dating back to the Roman era, where military leaders would pass a baton, colors, standards, or ensigns that symbolized the passing of command to subordinates in attendance, and ensured unit members were never without official leadership or a continuation of trust.

“I feel at home here, I feel happy here, my friends are here and there is no place I’d rather be,” said McElhaney, 374th AW incoming commander. “We are all here for the same goal, and it takes all of us to achieve it. This is a dream job here for me and you’ll get everything I have before somebody wakes me up.

“I guarantee you will know my priorities and I’ll answer your questions - just be prepared for the answers. Take care of the mission, and we’ll take care of you,” he continued.

The 374th AW mission statement is to project the Joint Force through agile airlift and support operations across the Indo-Pacific.