Lakenheath Eagle Squadron Conducts Change of Command During Combat Flight

An F-15C Eagle flies over an undisclosed location in Southeast Asia in honor of the 493rd Fighter Squadron assumption of command for incoming commander Lt. Col. Anthony May during a mission supporting ongoing theater operations. Courtesy photo.

The 493rd Fighter Squadron had a different sort of change of command earlier this year, with the handover of leadership taking place during a combat mission in the skies over Iraq and Syria.

The F-15C squadron from RAF Lakenheath, England, had to do a “very short notice deployment” to Southwest Asia earlier this year, leaving them little preparation time to take over the air superiority mission in US Central Command from F-22 Raptors, which were returning home as part of a push to increase overall fighter readiness.

On Feb. 28, Lt. Col. Anthony May took command of the 493rd FS from Lt. Col. Cody Blake in a ceremony that took place during a combat mission in an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, according to a Friday Lakenheath release.

Typically a change of command like this takes place during a formal ceremony, with a guidon handed over, but in this instance the oath was read over the radio and a flag was in an Eagle’s cockpit.

“That’s not how we normally envision changes of command, but I’m certain it was truly a memorable experience,” 48th Operations Group Commander Col. Jason Camilletti said in the release.