Col. Slife takes command of 1st Special Operations Wing

Northwest Florida Daily News: Devon Ravine Col. James C. Slife, right, salutes Lt. Gen. Eric E. Fiel, commander of the Air Force Special Operations Command, on Wednesday after taking over the 1st Special Operations Wing.

By Mona Moore: Northwest Florida Daily News

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. — It took only 35 minutes Wednesday morning for Col. Michael Plehn to turn over command of more than 5,000 airmen.

In a brief ceremony that included all of the age-old traditions, Col. James C. Slife took command of the 1st Special Operations Wing.

Slife thanked “friends, mentors, heroes and role models” for attending the event.

“To the men and women of the 1st SOW, I’m happy to be back,” said Slife who had been stationed at Hurlburt twice previously during his career.

Most recently he was at Cannon Air Force Base, where he commanded the 27th Special Operations Group.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Auburn University; a Master of Aerospace Science in Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; and a Master of Administrative Science in Organizational Management from George Washington University.

Plehn served as commander of the 1st SOW for a little more than a year. He is headed to MacDill Air Force Base, where he will be the deputy director of the Theatre Plans and Synchronization element at U.S. Central Command.

He thanked the airmen and praised the wing.

“I can’t tell you how incredibly proud I am of you,” he said.

Plehn noted the success the wing has had in the last 10 years and credited the support of families and the community.

“Our success around the world starts at home,” he said.