U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel, Air Force Special Operations Command commander, passes the guidon to Col. Albert M. "Buck" Elton II, 27th Special Operations Wing commander, in a change of command ceremony at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., July 8, 2011. Elton replaces Col. Stephen Clark, who had led the wing since May 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Ericka Engblom)(RELEASED)
U.S. Air Force Col. Albert M. "Buck" Elton II, 27th Special Operations Wing commander, receives his first salute from the wing in a change of command ceremony at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., July 8, 2011. Elton replaces Col. Stephen Clark, who had led the wing since May 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James Bell)(RELEASED)
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jennifer Bodie, 27th Special Operation Medical Support Squadron, sings the national anthem at the 27th Special Operations Wing change of command ceremony at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., July 8, 2011. Bodie won the Cannon Idol competition in 2010 and often sings at wing events. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Ericka Engblom)(RELEASED)
by Airman 1st Class Jette Carr
27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
7/8/2011 - CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Col. Albert M. "Buck" Elton II, former 1st Special Operations Group commander at Hurlburt Field, Fla., took command of the 27th Special Operations Wing in a change of command ceremony here July 8.
Lt. Gen Eric Fiel, Air Force Special Operations Command commander, presided over the ceremony, in which Col. Stephen Clark relinquished command of the 27 SOW to Elton.
"While the 27 SOW is losing a great commander today in Colonel Clark, I am very confident Colonel Elton is ready to hit the ground running," said Fiel.
During his 22-year Air Force career, Elton has logged more than 4,200 hours as a command pilot on ten different aircraft. He has earned awards and decorations including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster. Elton has also commanded special operations forces at the squadron and expeditionary level.
During the ceremony, Elton spoke of how proud he and his family were to become members of this community. "I am humbled and honored to be given the opportunity to command this amazing wing," he said.
"The Air Commandos of the 27 SOW will be a precise, reliable and responsive force, ready for any mission," said Elton. "Our unique special operations capabilities are essential to this fight and much will be expected from us all for many years."
Before relinquishing command, Clark addressed the approximately 500 Airmen and guests in attendance, "To our Airmen I have to say I could not be more proud. For the past two years you have arguably been the busiest wing in the Air Force."
Clark arrived at Cannon May 24, 2009, shortly after its transition from a base slated for closure to a fully-functional special operations base. Under his leadership, Cannon more than doubled in size to roughly 5,000 personnel and nearly 90 aircraft.
"No one else in the Air Force has been asked to do so much; no one even comes close, and you did it magnificently," said Clark to the Airmen present. "I'm honored to have been your commander."
When Clark spoke to Elton he said, "These men and women deserve the very best we have and that is why you are here."
Clark has been re-assigned to Hurlburt Field, Fla., where he will become the new director of plans, programs, requirements, and assessments at headquarters, Air Force Special Operations Command.
7/10/2011 6:00:27 AM ET We are very proud of Col. Buck Elton II accomplishments and know that those under his command at the 27th Special Ops Wing descend from a long line of men and women who serve their country with honor. Buck will bring his humanity and judgement to lead this tour de force with the honor it deserves faithfully.Teri Elton Bechetoille