FORT RILEY, Kan. -- Airmen and Soldiers of the "Big Red One" welcomed a new commander to the 10th Air Support Operations Squadron at Fort Riley July 7.
Lt. Col. Jason "Pusher" Grubaugh, outgoing commander of 10th ASOS, relinquished command to Lt. Col. Daniel Heely, incoming commander of 10th ASOS. Col. Aaron Ullman, commander of the 3rd Air Support Operations Group presided over the ceremony.
"As with all my commanders, he has a tremendous record," Ullman said of Grubaugh. "The majority of officers in the Air Force, command is the pinnacle of a career. That's where most of us get cut off … Pusher earned it."
Ullman said during his command, Grubaugh got 590 hours of combat time that included close integration with the bomber platform with Army maneuver in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"That's a tremendous amount of combat for any aviator … what got him command was his reputation, Pusher is a guy who gets things done and takes care of his Airmen," he said.
Looking ahead, Ullman said Heely has 560 hours of combat experience and was selected from a list of officers who had similar credentials.
"I have officers that have equal qualifications on paper, but when I called every commander and talked to senior enlisted no one had a bad thing to say about him," he said. "I know you're going to be the leader this squadron needs … your leadership is going to carry over well here in 10th ASOS."
Ullman presented Grubaugh with the Meritorious Service Medal. Then, Grubaugh addressed the squadron one last time before he officially was no longer their commander.
During his time in command, 10th ASOS supported the 1st Infantry Division in certifying to deploy in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, an agreement was established to fund and support Airmen leadership attendance at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas, that ultimately saves the Air Force $1,000 per Airman and was recognized as the 3rd ASOG Squadron of the Year for both 2015 and 2016.
"You've humbled me and you've exceeded all of my expectations day in and day out," Grubaugh told the men and women of the squadron. "A five to ten minute speech simply cannot do you justice as I have too many accolades to bestow on everyone."
He then talked about what it means to be part of the squadron and call oneself a "Sandhog." He said the squadron's foundation is built to support five major pillars -- humility, passion, loyalty, sacrifice and trust.
"These program pillars and tenets are sewed into our fabric or DNA of what it means to be a Sandhog," he said. "We respect each other, we take care of one another and we don't treat each other like coworkers, we treat each other as family -- and that is what I am going to deeply miss about this squadron."
Heely took command after the passing of the guidon, a military tradition that symbolizes the transfer of complete authority for the unit. He acknowledged the unit's accomplishments under the command of Grubaugh and gave credit where credit was due.
"Sandhogs, that's all you," he said. "You're going to get my best and I expect yours. I look forward to working with you and for you in the next few years."