JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
Col. Raul Rosario gained command of the 149th Fighter Wing, headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, during a change of command ceremony at JBSA-Lackland Aug. 18.
Rosario, formerly the 149th Operations Group commander, replaced Col. Timothy Madden who had served as the 149th FW commander since 2015, leading more than 1,500 guard personnel who’s mission is to train and support the F-16 Fighting Falcon flying mission.
“I’ve been a Gunfighter for 16 years and it’s been an honor,” Rosario said. “I never imagined I would be standing on a stage like this, being the commander of the premier fighter wing in the Air National Guard. It’s really humbling.”
Change of command ceremonies are a military tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility of a unit from one commanding officer to another. A symbolic guidon was passed between the outgoing and incoming commanders and they received their last and first salutes. A special tribute was also made to the new commander, as Rosario’s name was revealed on his command aircraft.
Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, the adjutant general, Texas, spoke as the presiding officer of the ceremony.
“To keep the Gunfighter tradition going on is a tough job,” Nichols said. “We produce the best fighter pilots in the world because of all of you and [Madden’s] leadership. So I’m going to hold [Rosario] responsible for continuing the proud traditions of the 149th gunfighters.”
During the ceremony, Madden offered his advice to Rosario.
“My hat is off to [Rosario] and my heart will forever be here,” Madden said. “People don’t really care how much you know until they know how much you care. So just love them, let them go and you’ll be amazed.”
Madden said he was very excited to hand the baton off to Rosario and that he can’t wait to see what will happen in the next couple of years at the 149th FW.
After assuming command, Rosario thanked Madden and those who helped him throughout his career.
“As I transition, I look at all you fine men and women of the 149th,” Rosario said. “You are gunfighters, and a gunfighter operates at a higher standard. We keep a proper balance between the federal and state missions and we support our families and serve our communities. I am here to serve you, that is my commitment. But as we meet challenges in the future, the only question I have is ‘What are you going to do for the Gunfighters?’”