Conley takes command of AFSOC

  • Published
  • By Lucelia Ball
  • Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

Lt. Gen. Michael Conley assumed command of Air Force Special Operations Command from Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind in a change of command ceremony at Hulburt Field, July 2.

Presiding over the ceremony, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Allvin praised Bauernfeind's past accomplishments and Conley's future potential as the commander of AFSOC. Allvin said the image that came to mind when he thought of the transition to a new commander was the passing of a baton in a race.

"Races are won or lost by fractions of a second," Allvin said. "The stakes are high for our Air Force, our special operations community and our nation and we can't afford to take a pause. Mike Conley is up to speed. He's ready. He brings a breadth of experience working with the Air Force, major command and joint staff. He also has a depth of experience in the AFSOC mission."

During the ceremony, four formations of air commandos stood at attention to represent the Airmen of AFSOC. The military formation, comprised of 85 Airmen, represented the five active-duty, one Reserve wing, and two National Guard wings; and more than 20,000 active duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and civilian Airmen who serve across AFSOC.

U.S. Army Gen. Bryan Fenton, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, also provided remarks during the ceremony, as AFSOC is the Air Force component of USSOCOM. Fenton welcomed Conley as AFSOC’s new commander and praised the command for its spirit of innovation.

“Mike, welcome aboard,” Fenton said. “You are taking charge of an exceptional team. You know this already because you’ve been a key part. You’re inheriting an incredible organization that is not only pathfinding and trailblazing for SOCOM but equally for our Air Force and on top of that, the Department of Defense. And they are doing it at lightning speed. You’re exactly what AFSOC needs to continue that transformation.”

Conley assumed command of AFSOC after previously serving as the director of operations for Headquarters AFSOC. He was responsible for implementing and directing operational command policy for AFSOC’s worldwide special operations units including 20,800 personnel, approximately 300 aircraft and $17 billion in assets. He also served as the vice commander for AFSOC’s 27th Special Operations Wing and the commander of the 1st SOW.

"I am honored and humbled for this opportunity,” Conley said. “I am committed to making this command the best it can be in ensuring we are ready to go whenever you need us to.”

Bauernfeind was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal as well as the USSOCOM ceremonial colors for his accomplishments as commander and then received the final salute from the Air Commandos. He will depart AFSOC to become the next superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy.