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53rd Wing welcomes new commander

Col. Mark Pye, 53rd Wing vice commander, leads the formation of Airmen in salute of the new 53rd Wing Commander Col. David Abba, during a change of command ceremony June 20 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The first salute rendered is a tradition to honor the new commander upon their assumption of the command. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Col. Mark Pye, 53rd Wing vice commander, leads the formation of Airmen in salute of the new 53rd Wing Commander Col. David Abba, during a change of command ceremony June 20 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The first salute rendered is a tradition to honor the new commander upon their assumption of the command. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Col. David Abba, 53rd Wing commander, renders his first salute to the wing, during a change of command ceremony June 20 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  Abba is a command pilot with more than 1,700 hours in the T-38A, F-15C, F-22A, E-3B/C, C-12F, C-17A. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Col. David Abba, 53rd Wing commander, renders his first salute to the wing, during a change of command ceremony June 20 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Abba is a command pilot with more than 1,700 hours in the T-38A, F-15C, F-22A, E-3B/C, C-12F, C-17A. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Col. David Abba accepts the 53rd Wing guidon from Maj. Gen. Glen VanHerck, Air Force Warfare Center commander, during a change of command ceremony June 20 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The acceptance of the guidon signifies Abba’s command of the wing. Prior to his current assignment, Abba commanded the 3rd Operations Group at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Col. David Abba accepts the 53rd Wing guidon from Maj. Gen. Glen VanHerck, Air Force Warfare Center commander, during a change of command ceremony June 20 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The acceptance of the guidon signifies Abba’s command of the wing. Prior to his current assignment, Abba commanded the 3rd Operations Group at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Maj. Gen. Glen VanHerck, Air Force Warfare Center commander, Col. Adrian Spain, outgoing 53rd Wing commander, and Col. David Abba, the new 53rd Wing commander, salute the Colors during the National Anthem June 20 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Abba assumed command of the 53rd Wing from Spain during the ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Maj. Gen. Glen VanHerck, Air Force Warfare Center commander, Col. Adrian Spain, outgoing 53rd Wing commander, and Col. David Abba, the new 53rd Wing commander, salute the Colors during the National Anthem June 20 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Abba assumed command of the 53rd Wing from Spain during the ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Airmen from the 53rd Wing stand at attention during a change of command ceremony June 20 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. During the ceremony Col. David Abba assumed command of the 53rd Wing from Col. Adrian Spain. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Ilka Cole)

Airmen from the 53rd Wing stand at attention during a change of command ceremony June 20 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. During the ceremony Col. David Abba assumed command of the 53rd Wing from Col. Adrian Spain. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Ilka Cole)

Col. David Abba, 53rd Wing commander, gives his first speech to members of the wing during a change of command ceremony June 20 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  Abba is a command pilot with more than 1,700 hours in the T-38A, F-15C, F-22A, E-3B/C, C-12F, C-17A. Abba assumed command of the 53rd Wing from Col. Adrian Spain. (U.S. Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Col. David Abba, 53rd Wing commander, gives his first speech to members of the wing during a change of command ceremony June 20 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Abba is a command pilot with more than 1,700 hours in the T-38A, F-15C, F-22A, E-3B/C, C-12F, C-17A. Abba assumed command of the 53rd Wing from Col. Adrian Spain. (U.S. Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Carla Abba glances down at the bouquet of flowers from her husband, Col. David Abba, the new 53rd Wing commander, during his change of command June 20 at EglinAir Force Base, Fla. The wing also welcomed their children. Nyah, Jack, Serena, Lauren and Lani Abba. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Carla Abba glances down at the bouquet of flowers from her husband, Col. David Abba, the new 53rd Wing commander, during his change of command June 20 at EglinAir Force Base, Fla. The wing also welcomed their children. Nyah, Jack, Serena, Lauren and Lani Abba. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

1st Lt. Shawn Whitney, 36th Electronic Warfare Squadron, unveils Col. David Abba, 53rd Wing commander’s name on the wing flagship F-22 June 20 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Abba is a command pilot with more than 1,700 hours in various aircraft, including the Raptor. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

1st Lt. Shawn Whitney, 36th Electronic Warfare Squadron, unveils Col. David Abba, 53rd Wing commander’s name on the wing flagship F-22 June 20 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Abba is a command pilot with more than 1,700 hours in various aircraft, including the Raptor. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

The wing flagship, the F-22 displays the new 53rd Wing commander’s name, Col. David Abba, during the change of command ceremony June 20 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The Raptor is assigned to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis AFB, Nev., one of the wing's 22 geographically-separated units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ilka Cole).

The wing flagship, the F-22 displays the new 53rd Wing commander’s name, Col. David Abba, during the change of command ceremony June 20 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The Raptor is assigned to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis AFB, Nev., one of the wing's 22 geographically-separated units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ilka Cole).

The wing flagship, the F-22 displays the new 53rd Wing commander’s name, Col. David Abba, during the change of command ceremony June 20 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The Raptor is assigned to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis AFB, Nev., one of the wing's 22 geographically-separated units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ilka Cole)
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The wing flagship, the F-22 displays the new 53rd Wing commander’s name, Col. David Abba, during the change of command ceremony June 20 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The Raptor is assigned to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis AFB, Nev., one of the wing's 22 geographically-separated units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ilka Cole)

Maj. Gen. Glen VanHerck, Air Force Warfare Center commander (left) and Col. Adrian Spain, outgoing 53rd Wing commander (far right), congratulate Col. David Abba (center), the new 53rd Wing commander June 20 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  Abba previously served here from Jan. 2004 through June 2006 as a member of the 58th Fighter Squadron, 33rd Fighter Wing. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo/Master Sgt. Jamie Munn)
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Maj. Gen. Glen VanHerck, Air Force Warfare Center commander (left) and Col. Adrian Spain, outgoing 53rd Wing commander (far right), congratulate Col. David Abba (center), the new 53rd Wing commander June 20 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Abba previously served here from Jan. 2004 through June 2006 as a member of the 58th Fighter Squadron, 33rd Fighter Wing. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo/Master Sgt. Jamie Munn)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 53rd Wing welcomed their new commander, Col. David Abba, during a change of command ceremony here June 20.

 The ceremony's presiding officer, Maj. Gen. Glen VanHerck, U.S. Air Warfare Center commander, accepted the wing's guidon from Col. Adrian Spain and passed it to Abba, symbolizing the beginning of his command of the 53rd Wing.

“I’m truly humbled, and I promise I’ll give my all every day to provide the leadership our uniformed and civilian Airmen deserve,” said Abba. “I won’t let you down.”

Along with the colonel, the wing welcomed his wife, Carla, and children: Nyah, Jack, Serena, Lauren and Lani. This is a return here for Abba, since he served in the 58th Fighter Squadron from January 2004 – June 2006.

Abba began by thanking his family and friends, many of whom are local to the area, making the ceremony extra special for those able to attend… considerably more than his prior change of command in Alaska, he joked.

He next took a moment to address the men and women newly under his command:

“It’s increasingly clear to me that what you provide the warfighter is really the center of gravity for our combat forces across air, space and cyber,” said Abba. “Our forces, and partner nations, use the fruits of your labor every day to execute combat missions around the world.”

The 53rd Wing is the sole operational test wing for the U.S. Air Force. The wing develops, test, evaluates and delivers effective and sustainable combat capabilities to perfect lethality and survivability of the nation’s combat forces.

He said the team at the 53rd Wing is pivotal to ensuring the Air Force warfighting capabilities operate “as advertised.”

“It’s up to us to deliver what our Air Force requires to remain the most feared fighting force on the planet and stay out in front of our adversaries,” Abba closed.

Prior to his current assignment, Abba was the commander, 3rd Operations Group, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Abba led the 3rd OG to train, mobilize, and employ five squadrons comprised of C-17 Globemaster, C-12 Huron, E-3 Sentry, and F-22 Raptor aircraft, and helped provide air dominance, global mobility, and command and control for combatant commanders. Abba is a command pilot with more than 1,700 hours in the T-38A, F-15C, F-22A, E-3B/C, C-12F, C-17A.


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