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.