General Corley takes command of ACC

  • Published
Gen. John D.W. Corley assumed the reins of Air Combat Command from Gen. Ronald E. Keys Oct. 2 in a ceremony here.

"Today we transition Air Combat Command from one great American to another," said Gen. T. Michael Moseley, the Air Force chief of staff. "I'm proud to be able to hand over the watch to (Gen.) John Corley."

General Moseley said the new commander has proven his mettle during his time at the Pentagon and throughout his career.

"No matter how difficult the task or onerous the challenge ... you always looked to see the challenge right through," General Moseley said.

ACC will continue to be in good hands, said Gen. Lance Smith, commander of Joint Forces Command.

"I know of no better Airman to lead ACC into the future than (Gen.) John Corley," he said.

General Corley comes to ACC from the Pentagon, where he was the vice chief of staff of the Air Force and presided over the Air Staff and served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Requirements Oversight Council.

He is a 1973 Air Force Academy graduate and command pilot with more than 3,100 flying hours in the A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-5 Tiger, F-15 Eagle, T-38 Talon and EC-130 Compass Call. He has commanded at the squadron, group and wing levels. His staff positions include operational and joint duties in Tactical Air Command, Headquarters U.S. Air Force and the Joint Staff.

He has significant experience in expeditionary combat operations, most recently during Operation Enduring Freedom. As the Combined Air Operations Center director, he orchestrated more than 11,000 combat missions striking more than 4,700 targets, including 250 attacks against the Al Qaida and Taliban leadership. He directed the safe recovery of isolated personnel during the largest combat search and rescue mission in 50 years and was awarded the Bronze Star medal.

Adapting an adage from Gen. Carl A. Spaatz, a former commander at Langley AFB and the Air Forces' first chief of staff, General Corley said Airmen of ACC "better be prepared to dominate the skies above the surface of the earth or be prepared to be buried below it."

He said every Airman across the command is crucial to the mission.

"Today ACC is ready and we will continue to fly, fight and win," General Corley said.

Before he concluded his remarks, General Corley made a promise to General Moseley and General Smith.

"ACC will be organized, trained and equipped to provide the combat power this nation needs" he said. "The challenges are huge, but I know we'll succeed with the excellence that is synonymous with this command.

"We are the nation's strategic sword and shield and we are on the front line of our nation's security today and everyday" he added.

Air Combat Command's mission is to provide the primary force of combat airpower to America's warfighting commands. To support global implementation of the national security strategy, ACC Airmen operate fighter, bomber, reconnaissance, battle-management and electronic-combat aircraft. They also provide command, control, communications and intelligence systems, and conduct global information operations. 

After four decades in uniform, General Keys retires Nov. 1