Coburn takes command of 22nd Air Force

  • Published
  • By Matt Bailey
  • 22nd Air Force Public Affairs

Brig. Gen. Melissa A. Coburn received command of 22nd Air Force from Air Force Reserve Commander and Chief of the Air Force Reserve Lt. Gen. John P. Healy, during a change of command ceremony at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia, April 2, 2023.

Coburn took command from outgoing 22nd Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Bret C. Larson who is retiring after 34 years of service. 

Twenty-Second Air force is one of three numbered air forces in the Air Force Reserve Command. It’s a combat ready force comprised of more than 12,000 Reserve Citizen Airmen in 13 units at 30 locations across the U.S. Department of Defense.

Coburn will be responsible for the Air Force Reserve’s tactical airlift capability provided by units flying the C-130. In addition to airlift, 22nd Air Force units perform a variety of mission sets to include aeromedical evacuation, distinguished visitor airlift, weather reconnaissance, undergraduate pilot training, civil engineering, flight test, joint planning, Basic Military Training and more.

Healy applauded Larson and his family for their leadership and dedication to the Airmen of the unit and wished him well as he prepares to retire. He also welcomed their successors, Coburn and her husband Ryan.

“I am confident that 22nd Air Force will continue its proud tradition of excellence under General Coburn’s leadership,” said Healy, to the many service members, civic leaders, families and guests in attendance.

Larson reflected upon servant leadership and what that meant during his tenure as 22nd Air Force commander.

“When I took this job, I told you that I don’t have one boss,” he said. “I have 12,000 Airmen who have given me the task to lead them and provide the training, tools and motivation to be successful.”

“The last thing I want to do in command is salute all of you, you have been the best bosses” he added.

Coburn is the former Deputy Director for Strategy, Policy and Plans, North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command, Colorado Springs, Colorado. She was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force through the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1992, and has flown the C-17A, KC-135, C-12J and C141B aircraft.

Coburn also commanded the 452nd Air Mobility Wing, 452nd Operations Group and the 514th Operations Support Squadron. She highlighted the importance of the 22nd Air Force mission and promised to build upon the foundation set by her predecessor.

“Our mission directly impacts millions of American lives,” said Coburn. “More than ever, we need to be ready to adapt, to be prepared for the mission at hand. I will do everything in my power to enable you to do that.”


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