HomeNewsArticle Display

Continuing the legacy: Tibbets takes command of 509th Bomb Wing

Maj. Gen. Richard Clark, the Eighth Air Force commander, hands over the wing guidon to Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets IV, the 509th Bomb Wing commander, during a change of command ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., June 5, 2015. The presentation of the guidon to Tibbets symbolized the official change of command from the old commander to the new commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Longfellow)

Maj. Gen. Richard Clark, the Eighth Air Force commander, hands over the wing guidon to Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets IV, the 509th Bomb Wing commander, during a change of command ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., June 5, 2015. The presentation of the guidon to Tibbets symbolized the official change of command from the old commander to the new commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Longfellow)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. (AFNS) -- During a historic ceremony, Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets IV took command of the 509th Bomb Wing here June 5.

Tibbets' grandfather, Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets Jr., was the pilot of the "Enola Gay," the B-29 Superfortress known for dropping the "Little Boy" atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, Aug. 6, 1945.

At the time, the then-colonel was assigned to the 509th Composite Group, a predecessor unit to the 509th BW.

Now, his grandson is in command of the world's only fleet of B-2 Spirits and the 5,500 Airmen who make the stealth bomber mission possible.

The outgoing commander, Brig. Gen. Glen VanHerck, is headed to be the Air Force Global Strike Command director of operations at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.

During his final farewell, VanHerck focused his speech on thanking the chaplain for the invocation, his family for their support and the men and women of the 509th BW for their hard work during his tenure.

"Stay razor sharp and ready to go," VanHerck said. "It's a matter of when, not if, you will be called upon again. Keep leading and own it every day."

Tibbets is coming from an assignment as the deputy director for nuclear operations, Global Operations Directorate, U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt AFB, Nebraska. He has been stationed at Whiteman twice before in multiple roles, including a B-2 pilot, deputy chief of wing standardization and evaluation, director of operations, and commander of the 393rd Bomb Squadron.

"Thank you for the time, energy, passion and devotion you have dedicated to welcoming my family to Whiteman for the third time," said Tibbets, who, in past interviews, credited his father with helping inspire him to join the Air Force.

Tibbets said he hopes for three things from the base's Airmen: that they take care of themselves, they take care of their families and to be excellent in their duties.

"If my grandfather was here today, he would tell all of you how proud he is of the great things you do for our nation," he said. "Each one of you is a source of power for the mission -- you make it happen each and every day. I will serve with passion, humility, courage and respect every day, and I ask the same of you."

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @grandslamwing: @SecAFOfficial and @GenDaveGoldfein have arrived to the Grand Slam Wing! Barrett and Goldfein met with AUAB and Qatari l…
RT @AirMobilityCmd: A HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter assigned to @DMAFB was delivered to @MacDill_AFB via a C-5 Super Galaxy assigned to Dover…
RT @HQUSAFEPA: Airmen from @Spangdahlem_AB trained at #BlueFlag Israel with partners and allies like the Hellenic air force @wwwairforcegr
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: What an honor to accompany @SecAFOfficial on her first trip to meet our deployed #Airmen. Looking forward to introduci…
#USAF's 555th Fighter Squadron a.k.a the Triple Nickel and their F-16 Fighting Falcons recently deployed for the fi… https://t.co/0qCMua0WAi
RT @FedExField: Swearing-In Ceremony during the @Redskins #SaluteToService Game. 🇺🇸 https://t.co/pox97AAekX
RT @HQUSAFEPA: Watch USAFE-AFAFRICA Deputy Commander Lt. Gen. Basham & @RoyalAirForce Air Marshal Gerry M. Mayhew explain why our strong U.…
RT @cmsaf18: “You (don’t) become a #leader by fighting your way to the top. Rather, you become a leader by helping others to the top.” - W…
RT @USAFCENT: SHARED COMMITMENT | The Commander of the Qatar Emiri Air Force, Staff MG Pilot Salem Bin Hamad Al-Nabet, met with Lt. Gen. Gu…
RT @HQ_AFMC: Our teams at the @AFResearchLab are forever #innovating ... even in the ways they approach problem solving! #creativity #Airme
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Let there be no mistake about our continued commitment to the region. I look forward to continuing the important dialo…
RT @DeptofDefense: A @usairforce airman w/the 909th Air Refueling Squadron, performs refuel training w/ROK Air Force F-16D Falcon during a…
RT @AFGlobalStrike: When you spend 24 hour alerts in the silo, it becomes a second home… Learn about how the 341st Force Support Squadron a…
.@GenDaveGoldfein engaged recruits this past #VeteransDay weekend, asking each why they chose to serve prior to con… https://t.co/vToX52rixv
RT @USAFCENT: DETERRENCE | Check out the view from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 as it refuels F-22 Raptors and U.S. Navy EA-18G Growlers over no…
RT @AFSpace: The Vandenberg Tracking Station is a remote station in Calif., operating w/in the Air Force Satellite Control Network. This st…
#Airmen at @CannonAFB_ rolled out a new smart toolkit to help improve productivity and overall efficiency for work… https://t.co/DFsNQqVDz8
@AFGlobalStrike We also want to give a shout out to all our missile maintenance Airmen!