DUKE FIELD, Fla. --
The 919th Special Operations Wing began a new chapter in its storied past with a change of command ceremony here Aug. 2, 2019 in front of distinguished visitors, community partners and several hundred Citizen Air Commandos.
Col. Frank L. Bradfield III, who took over the unit in August 2017, relinquished command to Col. Kevin Merrill marking the end of his second tour with the Florida based special operations wing.
“Colonel Merrill brings a broad background across a wide spectrum [of missions] which is exactly what’s needed here to organize, train and equip the 919th and to work with our [Air Force Special Operations Command] counterparts,” said Maj. Gen. Brian Borgen, 10th Air Force commander and presiding official for the ceremony.
Merrill said he is excited to be a part of 10th Air Force and humbled to command such a prestigious unit with a proven record in combat operations dating back almost 50 years.
“Being selected to command the 919th is an honor and a privilege,” said Merrill. “Since its inception, the 919th has embraced the special operations mission while taking on several organizational structures, multiple aircraft and a plethora of different missions.”
A graduate of the Air Force Academy, Merrill is a command pilot with extensive experience in combat search and rescue operations. He has served as a fellow at Harvard University and excelled as the executive officer for the commander of the Air Force Reserve Command. His most recent assignment was as commander, 459th Operations Group, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.
He said his primary focus going forward will be to lead with humility and provide the best direction and example possible.
“I’ll work to eliminate barriers, set the proper conditions and ensure you have the tools required to do your jobs and do them well,” said Merrill. To our mission partners, “I look forward to building on the ties that have already been established. Together, we’ll present the most lethal Air Commandos the nation has ever seen.”
Before departing for his new assignment in Washington, D.C., Bradfield took a moment to thank the Citizen Air Commandos for their exemplary service in today’s resource constrained environment.
“You’ve supported special operations in the field, engaged the enemy on the battlefield and supported your fellow Citizen Airmen from Tyndall [Air Force Base] in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. You are Quiet Professionals and I am humbled to have served as your commander for the last two years.”