It was a big day on the parade field at F.E. Warren Air Force Base as Col. Johnny Galbert assumed command of the 90th Missile Wing replacing Col. Catherine Barrington. It was almost picture perfect. An endless blue sky met the acres of green grass of this historic venue. Across the field was a row of red-bricked buildings trimmed in white. These buildings are just a few the many that represent the architectural scheme of F.E. Warren. In today’s bright sunlight they were a perfect background for this day’s special event.
Military vehicles specific to the mission of the 90th Missile Wing mission were also parked on the parade field and behind the reviewing stand. Flags also surrounded the parade field, and in front of the flags were what I would guess were about 1,000 to 1,500 Airmen dressed in Air Force blues and in parade formation according to their squadrons.
There were many distinguished guests, including Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon. The City of Minot and the Minot Air Force Base also had a large contingent of civic and military leaders, along with several family members, friends and colleagues of Col. Johnny and Adrian Galbert.
On the reviewing stand to officiate the change of command was Major General Michael Lutton, commander of the 20th Air Force. Gen. Lutton was commander of Minot Air Force Base in 2016-2018. His son and daughter-in-law (just married the week before at the U.S. Air Force Academy) are stationed at Minot Air Force Base.
The stage was set, and the change of command ceremony began. There were several comments about how perfect the weather was. Wyoming is a lot like North Dakota in that you just expect there to be wind, it’s just a matter of how much. Having covered the Minot Air Force Base as a reporter at various times in my life, I was proud of the fact that all three of the participants on center stage had been in Minot at some time during their military careers. Maj General Lutton as the Commander of the 91st Missile Wing, Col. Catherine Barrington was the Commander of the 91st Operations Group, and of course Col. Galbert had just spent two years as Vice Commander of the 91 MW.
A change of command ceremony normally includes a final salute to the outgoing commander, as well as a first salute to the incoming commander. However, this ceremony also included a parade of the Airmen on the field, and as they passed by the reviewing area Col. Galbert was able to give each squadron a salute. The parade was a perfect ending to the change of command ceremony. Albeit there was supposed to be a cannon salute following the Air Force Song at the end, but it was the only portion of the ceremony that did not come off without a hitch. Maybe I’ll have to come back in two years for the next change of command at F.E. Warren if I want to hear and experience the roar of the cannon.
Col. Galbert fielded questions following the ceremony. His memories of Minot, Minot Air Force Base and the surrounding area were very positive. The representation from Minot was certainly a tribute to the job he did as Vice Commander at Minot AFB. Probably better said, you do not reach the position of Commander of one of three nuclear missile bases in the United States, if you weren’t a leader, and someone who worked hard. From my standpoint, Col. Johnny Galbert, and his family are friends I will remember forever. All of us at the Northern Sentry wish him the very best…and oh by the way “Only The VERY Best Come North!”
Best Kept Secrets
There is a lot going on over the 4th of July and the week that follows. There will be a 4th of July Parade at 10 AM sponsored by the Minot Shrine Club. Then be ready for what I am told is going to be the most spectacular fireworks display ever. That will take place at the North Dakota State Fairground after dark.
Then on the 7th & 8th of July in the hills of Metigoshe is landoLIVE, a two day music festival. Check out the landoLIVE web site for more details. There is a special military discount for admission.
No one wants to go through life with blinders on, but some nice little curtains with a drawstring would be nice.