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AFGSC conducts first-ever Command Chief Change of Responsibility

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  • By Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs
  • Air Force Global Strike Command

For the first time, Air Force Global Strike Command held a Change of Responsibility ceremony to mark the transfer of senior enlisted leadership responsibilities to its new Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Shawn Aiello, today at Barksdale Air Force Base.

Receiving the command’s colors from Chief Master Sgt. Melvina Smith, Aiello became the 8th command chief of AFGSC, which is responsible for two-thirds of the United States’ nuclear triad, and the 33,700 total force and civilian strikers who make the mission happen.

Gen. Anthony Cotton, commander, U.S. Strategic Command, spoke about the critical role the Smith played as Global Strike’s command chief.

“Chief Smith is the most compassionate leader I’ve ever come across,” said Cotton. “Everybody gets a chance. There were plenty of times when she was my command chief, proved me wrong. That’s what you need in a wingman, someone to be able to do that, and I couldn’t be more proud to call her a wingman.”

AFGSC commander Gen. Thomas Bussiere presided over the ceremony, receiving Chief Aiello’s first salute as the new Command Chief.

“Shawn, welcome to the team, my charge to you is going to be simple,” said Bussiere. “Get laser-focused on our mission, get laser-focused on taking care of our Airmen, and get laser-focused on taking care of our families.”

The Change of Responsibility ceremony is a traditional event rich in symbolism and heritage within the military. The core of the ceremony is the passing of the command’s colors, which symbolize the soul of a military unit and represent not only the lineage and honors of the organization, but also the loyalty and unity of its personnel. The custodian of the colors is the command chief.

The ceremony also culminated 32 years of an illustrious Air Force career for Chief Smith, who served two-and-a-half years as the command’s senior enlisted leader.

“To the Strikers, this thanks goes beyond you. It includes your significant others and loved ones,” said Smith. “There is no greater honor than to represent you…none. You are the ones who provide the drop-the-mic moments. Your service, your dedication, your pride in all you do…I get to witness that every single day. You are a unique, and significant community who provides strength, and security for our nation. You make a difference because we’re at the tip of the spear, thank you.”

Chief Aiello’s first remarks as Command Chief highlighted the contributions Strikers bring to the global stage.

“Today, the valuable gift of security is upheld worldwide by the dedicated efforts of Air Force Global Strike Command,” said Aiello. “Strikers stand ready to execute long-range strikes, deterring adversaries, assuring allies, and addressing challenges with an unwavering courage, commitment, and character. If our deterrence value fails to persuade our nation’s adversaries, we will be ready, and we will win…always ready!”

Chief Aiello arrives to AFGSC from Fifth Air Force, Yokota Air Base, Japan. He entered the Air Force in 1992, where he served in munitions assignments before cross-training into intelligence in 2002. As an intelligence practitioner, Chief Aiello served in the Republic of Korea, U.S. Air Forces Europe, Joint Special Operations Command and Air Force Special Operations Command.