Air Force ISR Agency   Right Corner Banner
Join the Air Force

News > Fort Meade community welcomes 70th ISR Wing commander
Symbolic exchange
Maj. Gen. John Shanahan, Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency commander, passes the 70th ISR Wing flag to Col. Kevin Dixon, incoming commander, during the wing’s change of command ceremony July 10, 2013, on the McGlachlin Parade Field at Fort George G. Meade, Md. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Samuel Daub)
Download HiRes
Fort Meade community welcomes 70th ISR Wing commander

Posted 7/12/2013   Updated 7/15/2013 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Dillon White
70th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs office

7/12/2013 - FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md.-- -- More than 300 Airmen from the 70th ISR Wing converged on the McGlachlin Parade Field under a light rain July 10, 2013, to witness Col. Kevin Dixon accept the wing's flag and render a parting salute to Col. Mary O'Brien.

Maj. Gen. John Shanahan, Air Force ISR Agency commander and presiding officer, delivered opening comments, praising the wing's achievements.

"It is no accident that Fort Meade remains one of our Nation's national security crown jewels," he said. "It is the direct result of the terrific relationships between all the organizations across this installation. To the men and women of this wing -- you are the engine of this wing -- its very heart and soul ... who have helped Col. O'Brien lead this wing to unprecedented accomplishments over the past few years."

Shanahan highlighted several of the wing's significant accomplishments. To name a few, Airmen of the 70th completed the stand-up of the 659th ISR Group at Fort Meade, the 526th Intelligence Squadron at Nellis AFB, and the establishment of the first Cyber National Mission Team.

"It is no exaggeration whatsoever to proclaim that the intelligence gathered and analyzed by the 70th's Airmen often reaches the desk of the President of the United States," Shanahan said. "What they do is that important.

"Finally and equally if not more importantly, [O'Brien] worked tirelessly to improve physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of the 70th's most valuable asset, its people. She fostered close ties with the Army to create the first Air Force-centered medical clinic at Fort Meade, servicing 2,400 Airmen and she also turned the wing's Key Souse program into a model for the rest of the Air Force, earning praise not only from the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, but the spouse of the CSAF.

"Col O'Brien takes care of people, and she takes care of the mission -- and she does both equally well."
Following Shanahan's comments, he presented O'Brien with the Legion of Merit.

O'Brien then stepped to the podium to address her Airmen for the final time as the wing commander.

"I've never worked with a more professional, dedicated, innovative group of people," O'Brien said. "Across the globe, you make minor and major miracles happen. I'm grateful to our group, squadron and detachment leaders, both officer and enlisted, for using their initiative to solve problems, get the mission done and take care of our Airmen - they're the real experts in our wing."

O'Brien also mentioned the unsung nature of ISR professions, one mostly unknown beyond classified doors.

"Most Airmen of the 70th have very little ability to share on-duty accomplishments with spouses and children or pick up the phone and brag," O'Brien said sincerely. "Even if you could, you wouldn't. You're too humble and always willing to give the credit to someone else, or prefer to talk about the contributions of your entire team."

Following her comments, the formation rendered a final salute to Col. O'Brien.

Shanahan's comments also included an introduction and welcome for Dixon, whom he previously selected as the vice commander for the 55th Wing, at Offut AFB, Neb., from 2011 to 2012.

"As I look around the U.S. Air Force and talked to people I trusted the most, one name kept coming back to me, Kevin Dixon," Shanahan said about his decision to hire Dixon for the second time. "Based on feedback across the 55th Wing, from those who I truly entrust the most, Kevin succeeded spectacularly -- as I knew he would.

"If asked to find someone with exactly the right blend of skills needed to succeed as the 70th ISR Wing commander, you would not find a better resume than that of Col. Kevin Dixon."

After accepting the wing's flag, Dixon approached the microphone to offer his thanks and perspective of the men and address his fellow 70th Airmen.

"Thank you, Gen. Shanahan, for the kind words and your confidence in me to serve this phenomenal wing as its next commander," Dixon said. "I look forward to leading the 70th ISR Wing and building upon our Airmen's impressive success across the breadth of our current missions, and enabling the wing to realize your vision for our future Air Force ISR enterprise and the presentation of our capabilities to the joint forces, our Air Force, and the Intelligence Community team."

Dixon first thanked Shanahan for his kind words and confidence in him to lead the wing. He then also thanked Lt. Gen. Robert Otto, deputy chief of staff for ISR Headquarters U.S. Air Force, for the valuable experiences he gained while appointed the Air Force ISR Agency assistant vice commander as well as the many Airmen in formation and across the global wing for their invaluable leadership lessons and mentorship.

"I'm honored to re-join this wing," he said. "I've seen, experienced and celebrated first-hand the mission successes and operational impacts you have achieved and are achieving on a daily -- if not hourly - basis.

"In short, I'm in awe of what this wing's Airmen do on behalf of our Nation, and our brothers and sisters in arms," he said. "This wing, its heritage, our predecessors and you hold a special place of respect in my heart.

"I'm humbled to assume the title of your commander, and prouder still to join you as a 70th ISR Wing Airman. Thank you."

No comments yet.  
Add a comment

 Inside AF ISR Agency

ima cornerSearch

Site Map      Contact Us     Questions     Security and Privacy notice     E-publishing  
Suicide Prevention    SAPR   IG   EEO   Accessibility/Section 508   No FEAR Act