New commander takes reins of 12th AF, AFSOUTH Published Oct. 4, 2016 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. (AFNS) -- The president of the United States nominated Maj. Gen. Mark D. Kelly for promotion to lieutenant general, and command of 12th Air Force and Air Forces Southern. During a change of command ceremony here Oct. 3, Kelly replaced Lt. Gen. Chris Nowland who was selected to become the next Air Force deputy chief of staff for operations at the Pentagon. Kelly most recently served as the 9th Air Force commander at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. He was also the commander of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, and has commanded two other wings, the 354th Fighter Wing at Eielson AFB, Alaska, as well as the 4th FW at Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina. He is a command pilot with more than 5,500 flying hours, primarily in the F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F/A-18 Hornet. As the commander of 12th AF (AFSOUTH), Kelly is responsible for seven active-duty wings, one direct reporting unit for contingency operations, and oversees 15 gained Air Reserve Component units totaling more than 360 aircraft and 20,300 Airmen. As the air and space component to U.S. Southern Command, he also leads AFSOUTH, which conducts security cooperation and provides air, space and cyberspace capabilities throughout the 31 nations of Latin America and the Caribbean.