The 86th Airlift Wing welcomed its new commander, Brig. Gen. Otis C. Jones, at Ramstein Air Base, July 15.
Brig. Gen. Josh Olson relinquished command of the 86 AW to Jones during a change of command ceremony presided over by Maj. Gen. Derek France, Third Air Force commander.
During the ceremony, France reflected on Olson’s time as the wing commander and thanked him for his service and leadership to the wing.
“General Olson, it’s been fun watching you and (your wife) Barb lead Team Ramstein the past two years,” said France. “Ramstein could not have asked for a better command team to make it through some significant storms and challenges. You’ve been in the global spotlight and you have shined.”
Olson led the 86 AW, which is the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa’s largest wing, comprising eight groups, 30 squadrons and 9,000 members, from Aug. 7, 2020, to July 15, 2022.
In his time as commander, Olson led the wing through the COVID-19 pandemic, provided temporary shelter and security for over 34,000 Afghan evacuees during Operation Allies Refuge, and sought to strengthen relationships with both allies and partners. Most recently, the 86 AW hosted the Ukraine Defense Consultative Group led by the U.S. Secretary of Defense who met with representatives from more than 40 countries.
“What a ride,” exclaimed Olson. “Thanks for your trust over the past two years. Barb and I couldn’t be more excited to pass the guidon to friends (the Jones family). I have no doubt you will make this base better and take this amazing team to higher heights. You’re the perfect team to keep the global gateway on track. I know you will lead and love them well.”
Jones expressed gratitude to France and Olson for the opportunity and the amount of trust being placed in his leadership.
“Thank you for giving the Jones family this amazing opportunity,” said Jones. “It will be a tough task following ‘Team Olson’ but (my wife) Nataki and I will do our very best to serve this installation with the pride and passion it so richly deserves.”
As Jones assumed command of the 86 AW he called for the continued building of adaptive Airmen and Guardians and future leaders who make up Team Ramstein.