POPE ARMY AIRFIELD, N.C. --
Hundreds of Airmen and special guests welcomed a new family to the Gryphon team as Col. Kelly Holbert assumed command of the 43d Air Mobility Operations Group from Col. Kenneth Moss during a change-of-command ceremony here June 14.
Brig. Gen. James Scanlon, mobilization assistant to the commander at the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center, presided over the ceremony, which also included the inactivation of the 2d Airlift Squadron and the redesignation of the 43d Airlift Group as the 43d Air Mobility Operations Group.
General Scanlon welcomed Colonel Holbert back to his home state of North Carolina, and said he is the right person to lead the 43d AMOG while supporting our mission partners here.
“For the last two years, (he) has compiled an impressive record, demonstrating that he possesses the commitment and the character that we expect of commanders,” General Scanlon said. “He is well-recognized for his talents within Air Mobility Command.”
Colonel Holbert comes to Pope from Air Mobility Command headquarters at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., where he served as the chief of the Resource, Requirements and Readiness Division. He has served in a variety of positions throughout his Air Force career, including an assignment to Pope’s 2d Airlift Squadron from 1995-1998.
He’s a highly-experienced C-130 pilot, and has served in key staff positions at 5th Air Force headquarters at Yokota Air Base, Japan, and as the 41st Flying Training Squadron commander at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss.
“For 20-plus years, (Colonel Holbert) has shown perseverance for success, passion for the mission, and a focus on Airmen. It’s fully evident to me that his expertise, experience and leadership make him the perfect choice to lead the 43d,” said General Scanlon.
Colonel Moss, who took command of the 43d Airlift Group in August 2014, leaves Pope to become the commander of the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota.
Colonel Holbert was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps following graduation from Virginia Military Institute in 1993. He attended flight training from 1998-1999, and is a command pilot with more than 3,400 flight hours in five different aircraft. He graduated from the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa. in 2015.
As the new commander of the 43d AMOG, Colonel Holbert first thanked the Airmen here for their work, and then assured mission partners here of the 43d AMOG’s continuing commitment to fulfill the mission.
“I am acutely aware of the essential mission set we have here at Pope,” Colonel Holbert said. “In addition to providing daily readiness to Air Mobility Command crews and to the (U.S. Army) 18th Airborne Corps, we must also stand ready to provide rapid global response for the (Global Response Force) … It’s absolutely a vital power projection capability.
“That capability can reach out and touch anywhere in the world in 96 hours, and there are very few military actions that our great nation can take that demonstrate America’s resolve, incredible military power and commitment to our security and that of our allies, than the GRF,” he continued. “I assure you all, the Gryphons of the 43d Air Mobility Operations Group are willing, able and ready to accomplish that mission.”
The redesignation as the 43d AMOG is a name change which ensures the group’s designation is more closely aligned with its mission here at Pope.