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Phillips takes command of Duke Field

Col. James M. Phillips salutes his wing as the new commander of the 919th Special Operations Wing Dec 7, at Duke Field, Fla.  Phillips served as the 919th Special Operations Group commander before taking command of the wing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jasmin Taylor)

Col. James M. Phillips salutes his wing as the new commander of the 919th Special Operations Wing Dec 7, at Duke Field, Fla. Phillips served as the 919th Special Operations Group commander before taking command of the wing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jasmin Taylor)

Col. James M. Phillips receives the wing guidon from Maj. Gen. George F. Williams, Air Force Special Operations Command mobilization assistant to the commander, during an assumption of command ceremony that installed him as commander of the 919th Special Operations Wing Dec.  7,  at Duke Field, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jasmin Taylor)

Col. James M. Phillips receives the wing guidon from Maj. Gen. George F. Williams, Air Force Special Operations Command mobilization assistant to the commander, during an assumption of command ceremony that installed him as commander of the 919th Special Operations Wing Dec. 7, at Duke Field, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jasmin Taylor)

Col. James M. Phillips speaks to his wing during an assumption of command ceremony that installed him as commander of the 919th Special Operations Wing Dec.  7, at Duke Field, Fla.  Phillips is responsible for organizing, training, equipping, and maintaining the wing’s special operations forces, ensuring unit readiness for worldwide deployments in support of combatant commands.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jasmin Taylor)

Col. James M. Phillips speaks to his wing during an assumption of command ceremony that installed him as commander of the 919th Special Operations Wing Dec. 7, at Duke Field, Fla. Phillips is responsible for organizing, training, equipping, and maintaining the wing’s special operations forces, ensuring unit readiness for worldwide deployments in support of combatant commands. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jasmin Taylor)

Col. James M. Phillips salutes Maj. Gen. George F. Williams, Air Force Special Operations Command mobilization assistant to the commander, during an assumption of command ceremony that installed him as commander of the 919th Special Operations Wing Dec.  7, at Duke Field, Fla.   (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jasmin Taylor)

Col. James M. Phillips salutes Maj. Gen. George F. Williams, Air Force Special Operations Command mobilization assistant to the commander, during an assumption of command ceremony that installed him as commander of the 919th Special Operations Wing Dec. 7, at Duke Field, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jasmin Taylor)

DUKE FIELD, Fla. -- In 1995, then-Capt. James Phillips came here as an active-duty advisor during the 919th Special Operations Wing's remissioning from the AC-130 gunship to the MC-130E Combat Talon I. Almost 20 years later, now-Colonel Phillips assumed command of the wing in the midst of another remissioning.

Colonel James Phillips accepted the wing guidon Dec. 7 from Maj. Gen. George Williams, Air Force Special Operations Command mobilization assistant to the commander, as leader of the only Reserve special operations wing in the Air Force.

"It is my distinct honor for me to preside over this ceremony today," said Williams, who spent half of his 32-year career here.

Phillips served as the 919th Special Operations Group commander prior to his selection. He is a 25-year special operations veteran who served in various roles in the C-130 aircraft.

"He is a proven combat leader," said Williams. "He brings a wealth of knowledge and experienced leadership to the 919th and the surrounding military communities. He is fully prepared to lead this wing into the future."

The colonel thanked many community and military leaders for attending and for their efforts to support the wing. The humble new wing commander didn't speak about himself, but praised the men and women air commandos and vowed to serve them to the best of his ability.

"Change is occurring all over this wing," said Phillips. "The SOF (special operations forces) truths have not changed. Humans are more important than hardware. The aircraft are only tools we utilize to perform our mission. The tools change, but the skills you've gained carry on. This wing has shown time and again, we can adapt and accomplish the mission."