by Capt. Jared Scott
601st Air and Space Operations Center Public Affairs
11/23/2012 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Command
of the 601st Air and Space Operations Center and the 101st Air and
Space Operations Group, collectively referred to as America's AOC, both
changed hands in a combined ceremony held here on Nov. 20, 2012.
An age old military tradition of passing of flags during the dual
ceremony symbolized the change in leadership as Col. John Ferry assumed
command of the 101st AOG from Col. Thomas Cucchi. The Adjutant General
of Florida, Maj. Gen. Emmett Titshaw Jr., presided over the ceremony.
"The Florida Guardsmen that make up the 101st Air and Space Operations
Group are the heart of America's AOC," said Cucchi. "They are ones who
make it happen, day in and day out. Colonel Ferry is the right person to
lead this organization to new heights and I look forward to watching
his leadership better our already impressive team."
Prior to becoming the 101st AOG commander, Ferry served as the 601st AOC
Strategy Division chief, responsible for leading the planning efforts
for the AOC.
"To Colonel Spear and Colonel Cucchi, you have laid a solid foundation
for me build upon," Ferry said. "Thank you for your mentorship and
friendship throughout the years. I am beyond humbled to be given this
opportunity to lead who I believe is the greatest group of men and women
in today's military. I know I have some big shoes to fill, but I look
forward to what lies ahead for America's AOC."
Another change in leadership immediately followed as Cucchi assumed
command of the 601st AOC from Col. Randy Spear. The 601st AOC change of
command was presided over by Lt. Gen. Sid Clarke, Continental U.S. North
American Aerospace Defense Command Region - First Air Force (Air Forces
"It has been an honor and privilege to serve as commander of the 601st
Air and Space Operations Center," said Spear. "America's AOC is truly a
family and I will miss every one of you. I know that Colonel Cucchi and
Colonel Ferry will do great things for this organization and its
The ceremony not only marked a change in leadership at the AOC, but also
a big change in Spear's life as he retired after
nearly three-and-half-years as the commander of the 601st AOC and 25
years of dedicated service to the United States Air Force.
Cucchi served as the second commander of the 101st AOG, a Florida Air
National Guard unit that provides manning for the 601st AOC to fulfill
its critical mission of defending the homeland. The 101st AOG, formerly
known as the Southeast Air Defense Sector, was officially activated July
"Colonel Spear has done an exceptional job as commander of the 601st and
I wish him well in his future endeavors," said Clarke. "America's AOC
is in good hands; both Colonel Cucchi and Colonel Ferry are the right
people for the job."
The 601st AOC is responsible for detecting, deterring, defending and if
necessary, defeating any aviation threat to the citizens of the United
States and to U.S. critical infrastructure.