WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — Col. John Devillier officially took command of one of the largest air base wings in the Air Force Thursday during a ceremony at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
He succeeds Col. Cassie Barlow as the 88th Air Base Wing and Installation Commander. Barlow is retiring after a 26-year career with the Air Force after overseeing operations at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for the last two years.
“Two years ago we incorporated the 88th Air Base Wing into the new AFLCMC, and you did not miss a beat,” Lt. Gen. C.D. Moore, Commander, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), during the ceremony. “Col. Barlow has worked hard to maintain a safe, secure, quality work environment, and she made it all look easy…You could not have selected a finer officer to lead the 88th through that transition. In Col. Barlow’s words, ‘we’re all in.’”
During her time as commander, Col. Barlow dealt with the sequestration, civilian furloughs, the government shutdown in 2013, the closure of State Route 444, the wind storm that cancelled the 2012 Freedom’s Call Tattoo, and the harsh 2013-2014 winter season.
“She faced a multitude of challenges handled with remarkable leadership abilities and skillful oversight,” Moore said. “Her outstanding leadership energized the wing to earn five DoD, 22 Air Force and 73 Command awards.”
Wright-Patt has more than 5,000 Air Force military, civilian and contractor employees. The wing provides support and services to one of the largest, most diverse, and most organizationally complex bases in the Air Force including a major acquisition center, research and development laboratories, a major command headquarters, an airlift wing, and the world’s’s largest military air museum. The base is also home to more than 27,000 employees and is the largest single site employer in the state of Ohio.
As she said her farewells, Barlow thanked the airmen of the 88th Air Base Wing for their support and dedication.
“These guys are truly heroes under the best air base wing on the world,” she said. “I couldn’t be more proud of what this team has accomplished. It’s really been an honor working with airmen who give 110 percent every single day…I know they couldn’t be in better hands. There is no better feeling than turning the crew over to a true professional. He will take care of the wing and lead you to next level of success.”
Col. Devillier previously served as commander of the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations (AFMAO) at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. AFMAO has global responsibility for all Air Force mortuary matters for current and past conflicts, operates the nation’s sole port mortuary, and provides global contingency mortuary response teams in support of Air Force and combatant command requirements. Prior to serving in AFMAO he was the commander of the 466th Air Expeditionary Group in Afghanistan.
“In this hand-off you’re getting the right guy for the job. He has an amazing record of excellence,” Moore said. “Col. Barlow has done a tremendous job improving relationships with the community and regional partners. My challenge to you is to build on that momentum.”
“Clearly Wright-Patt and the surrounding communities have a symbiotic relationship,” said Devillier. “What affects the base affects the community. We cannot perform our mission without your support. I’m honored to be part of such an amazing team…I have some huge shoes to fill. The 88th has been in good hands, and you will be missed.”
One of the challenges Devillier plans to focus on is to continue working under a strained budget by finding innovative ways of controlling costs while continuing to develop combat-ready airmen, caring for all airmen, and developing and fostering community partnerships.
“As I take command today I feel I have reached the pinnacle of my Air Force career,” Devillier said. “I am excited to roll up my sleeves and stand by your side as we continue our mission…I have no doubt we’ll face challenges in the coming days, months and years, as an air base wing, an installation and a community, but we’ll handle them together, with dignity, honor and respect.”