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New commander takes charge of AFCENT

U.S. Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel, U.S. Central Command commander, stands with U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian., U.S. Air Forces Central Command commander, and  U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., U.S. Air Forces Central Command outgoing commander, during a change of command ceremony at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., July 22, 2016. Outgoing and incoming commanders exchange a unit’s guidon to symbolize relinquishment and assumption of command. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado/Released)

Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel, the U.S. Central Command commander, stands with Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, the U.S. Air Forces Central Command commander, and Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., the AFCENT outgoing commander, during a change of command ceremony at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., July 22, 2016. Outgoing and incoming commanders exchange a unit’s guidon to symbolize relinquishment and assumption of command. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. (AFNS) -- Lt. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian assumed command of U.S. Air Forces Central Command from Lt. Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. during a ceremony here July 22.

U.S. Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel, the commander of U.S. Central Command, officiated the ceremony.

Votel expressed his trust and confidence in Harrigian and his gratitude toward Brown for the leadership he displayed during his tenure as AFCENT commander.

“(Gen. Brown), you leave this outstanding team in great shape and in great hands,” Votel said.

Votel described Harrigian as an incredibly smart and capable officer, one who was recognized as the top fighter pilot in the U.S. early in his career.

Harrigian returns to AFCENT after formerly serving the command as assistant deputy commander from 2011-2013.

“It’s great to be in AFCENT again and to be back in the fight,” Harrigian said. “I’m humbled and honored to be provided the chance to lead our Airmen in today’s fight – not a fight in the future, but a fight that we are in today to defend America.”

Harrigian, who was promoted to lieutenant general a day prior to the ceremony, takes command of an organization that works closely with its partners in Southwest Asia to ensure stability and defense of the region. In addition to serving as AFCENT commander, Harrigian is also the Combined Force Air Component commander for the theater.

“There is nothing more motivating than leading in combat,” Harrigian said. “Having an opportunity to work with our Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, civilians and our coalition teammates to deliver airpower to the joint coalition fight is a rare opportunity that I look forward to.”

A fighter pilot with more than 4,100 flight hours, Harrigian has flown combat missions in support of Operations Just Cause and Desert Storm. He has previously commanded at the flight, squadron and wing levels. Harrigian also previously served as CENTCOM’s deputy director of operations and the Air Force’s assistant deputy chief of staff of operations. Most recently, Harrigian served as the service’s director of the F-35 Integration Office at the Pentagon.

The general commissioned in 1985 after graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy. He thanked his family for their support throughout his career and Brown for setting such a high standard.

“You’ve left me with an AFCENT machine that is delivering today,” Harrigian said of his predecessor.

Brown will move to CENTCOM headquarters in Tampa, Florida, where he will serve as deputy commander.

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