by Senior Airman Nicole Sikorski
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
3/18/2015 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Members
from the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing and 435th Air Expeditionary
Wing welcomed their new commander during an assumption of command
ceremony here, March 16.
Col. Andra Kniep assumed command of the 435th AGOW and 435th AEW during a
ceremony that was officiated by Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, 3rd Air Force
and 17th Expeditionary Air Force commander.
Roberson welcomed Kniep and spoke about the hard work of Airmen assigned
to the 435th AGOW and 435th AEW and their critical role in the Air
"She has a lot of experience both in the air and on the ground," said Roberson. "I know that she will do a great job."
Kniep entered the Air Force in 1993 after her graduation from the Air
Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo. Kniep has served on 13
assignments in her Air Force career and most recently served as the 23rd
Fighter Wing vice commander at Moody Air Force Base, Ga.
Standing before her new troops, Kniep exclaimed her excitement to take on her command position.
"I stand before you humbled to be called your commander," said Kniep. "It is a true honor and I don't take it lightly."
In her new position, Kniep leads five groups and approximately 20 squadrons around the European theater.
"We are the backbone of 'Forward.Ready. Now!'" she said. "We will
continue to accomplish the mission, focus on our people by providing for
Airmen and their families, and continue to improve and innovate as we
meet the combatant commander's objectives."
In addition to her experience as a vice commander, Kniep has earned two
Distinguished Flying Crosses while flying combat missions as an A-10
Thunderbolt II fighter pilot. She was also an A-10 program manager and
Before her assignment at Moody AFB, she worked as the deputy director of
domestic counter-terrorism and global anti-terrorism at the Office of
the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense at the Pentagon,
Kniep said she not only looks forward to her position in command but serving next to her Airmen.
As a proud new leader of the two wings, she said she stands ready to take the AGOW and AEW to the next level.