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558th Flying Training Squadron holds virtual change of command

By Ben Faske | 12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs | April 7, 2020

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas —

The 558th Flying Training Squadron conducted a virtual change of command ceremony April 3 at Crawford Hall, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph.

Lt. Col. Corey Hogue, 558th FTS incoming commander, assumed command from Lt. Col. Eric Bissonette.

Hogue previously served as the director of operations for the 867th Attack Squadron at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.

A graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Hogue began his career flying the EC-130H aircraft with the 43rd Electronic Combat Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, and later served as a wing executive officer with the 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing and contingency planner at Headquarters U.S. Southern Command.

The change of command ceremony is a military tradition that formally signifies the transfer of responsibility for a unit from one commanding officer to another, symbolized through the passing of a guidon.

However, due to the social distancing guidelines from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention regarding the COVD-19 coronavirus, the change of command was conducted virtually without the attendance of family and friends.

“Two years ago almost to the day, Lt. Col. Bissonette took command of the 558th FTS and for nearly all of the last two years the Phantom Knights have been delivering nothing short of excellence,” said Col. John Ludington, 12th Operations Group commander. “Since taking command, Lt. Col. Bissonette has led the 558th to graduate 648 new sensor operators and 724 new remotely-piloted aircraft pilots."

Highlights include not only record-breaking graduations but also the implementation of innovative training solutions to include, virtual reality, 360 degree videos, RPA Next initiatives, and authoring in a revised training program focused on critical aspects of RPA pilot training.

Bissonette, who is headed to U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, reflected on his time leading the squadron.

“I cannot thank you all enough for your dedication and commitment to the mission, this is truly a unique time in the history of our Air Force,” Bissonette said. "We have done more in this squadron to keep the force and our Airmen safe over the last two weeks, while continuing the mission, it has been truly amazing. It has been an honor to lead you, thank you."

Ludington shared his confidence in the new commander’s abilities.

“Welcome to squadron command. I hope you create some memories of today that will last for a very long time,” Ludington said. “We wish you the very best and know that you are excited to take command and take care of this squadron and their families."