y Capt. Tristan Hinderliter
9th Air Force Public Affairs
8/3/2015 - SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Ninth
Air Force welcomed a new commander here, as Maj. Gen. Mark Kelly
assumed command from Maj. Gen. H. D. Polumbo Jr. in a ceremony
officiated by Gen. Hawk Carlisle, commander of Air Combat Command, on
Ninth Air Force, headquartered at Shaw Air Force Base, is a Numbered Air
Force under ACC comprised of eight active duty wings and three direct
reporting units primarily in the Southeastern U.S. with more than 400
aircraft and 29,000 personnel assigned. Several of the command's
aircraft, which include the A-10, F-16, F-15E and F-22 fighter jets, an
HH-60 helicopter and a HC-130J aircraft, were on display outside the
Kelly, a 1986 graduate of Southwest Texas State University and a fighter
pilot, comes to 9th Air Force from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, where
he commanded the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing. Earlier in his career, he
commanded a fighter squadron and two fighter wings. He is accompanied
by his wife, Tanya.
"It goes without saying that Tanya and I are excited to be here," Kelly
told the audience at the ceremony. "Part of our Airman's Creed talks
about our nation's sword and shield. Here at 9th Air Force, that's
talking about you."
Kelly thanked the many civic leaders in attendance, including the mayors
of Sumter, S.C. and Goldsboro, N.C., for their support for the Air
"Thanks for loving our Airmen enough to hold them to a high standard,"
Kelly said. "Thanks for putting a community arm around them and their
families so they're ready to succeed in challenging environments.
"In the coming months I look forward to thanking each community, each
wing and each Airman eye-to-eye in person, and I look forward to
continuing a well-established culture of 9th Air Force excellence."
Polumbo, who is retiring after a 34-year career, said it had been an
honor to serve as 9th Air Force commander, a position he held since May
"I know 9th Air Force is ready, and will stay ready under the leadership
of General Mark 'Grace' Kelly," Polumbo said. "I truly enjoyed being
part of everyone's lives."
Before he relinquished command, Polumbo was presented a Distinguished
Service Medal by Carlisle for "exceptionally meritorious service in
duties of great responsibility."
"Jake, you have had an incredible career in service to our nation," said
Carlisle, using Polumbo's call sign. "Every American owes you a debt of
gratitude. Thank you for your service, your friendship, and for being
an incredible Airman - congratulations."
Carlisle also offered praise for Kelly.
"Somehow, every time an incredible, world-class, top-of-the-heap
commander steps away, we are blessed and fortunate enough to have a
world-class, top-of-the-heap commander step in," Carlisle said. "That
is no different today.
"Grace, you have big shoes to fill, but I have absolutely no doubt in my
mind that you will do it and continue what Jake started and make this
command even better."