JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
The 688th Cyberspace Wing welcomed its incoming commander during a change of command ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland on June 29, 2023.
Col. James Hewitt passed the guidon to Col. Joshua Rockhill as part of the symbolic military tradition at the Lackland Gateway Club. Maj. Gen. David. M. Gaedecke, outgoing Vice Commander, Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber), presided over the ceremony.
“During competition, information warfare is the dominant activity and in crisis, it is the most vital activity; during those periods it is our mission to generate insights and expose adversary intent and malign activity,” said Gaedecke. “Col. Hewitt has done a masterful job at leading the 688th Cyberspace Wing. His ability to create partnerships and preserve relationships across the Air Force IT Enterprise has been a driving force behind the Wing’s bolstering modernization efforts.”
The Wing is comprised of 3,300 total force Airmen, four groups, and 25 units scattered across the globe in a total of 15 worldwide locations.
The general lauded Hewitt’s leadership and highlighted the Wing’s accomplishments during his command.
While in command, Hewitt established the Wing’s A-Staff, which reduced the workload across squadrons, streamlined operations in the Wing and took the burden off Squadron commander and support staff.
The wing provided critical information to the president during the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
Hewitt oversaw the stand-up of the 38th Engineering Squadron’s user experience center of excellence which helped improve the air force’s user experience across the entire network.
Additionally, under his command, the wing received highly effective ratings in two major graded areas during the last unit effectiveness inspection.
Gaedecke presented Hewitt with the Legion of Merit for the Wing’s remarkable achievements under his command.
"Over the last two years, it's been my honor to watch the men and women of the 688th lead from the front with innovative solutions to complex problems, both in garrison and deployed,” Hewitt said.
“They've overcome technological hurdles to advance the cybersecurity and usability of the Air Force's network, always keeping the user experience in mind, to ensure every Air Force member is able to use the network to accomplish their missions. I've also been fortunate to watch our airmen work tirelessly to increase our resiliency by reestablishing connections throughout our formation as we've overcome the impacts of COVID isolation.”
The 688th Cyberspace Wing, headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, is aligned under Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber), Air Combat Command. The wing is the Air Force's premier cyberspace warfighting organization dedicated to delivering actionable intelligence and tactics, techniques, and procedures, deployable warfighter communications, engineering and installation capabilities, defensive cyber operations, and network security operations across the Air Force Information Network enterprise.
“I couldn't be more excited to hand the guidon to Col. Josh Rockhill,” Hewitt said. “Josh helped lay the foundation for many of the initiatives we've advanced over the last two years and it's only fitting that he brings his expertise back to the wing. I'm confident the wing will climb to new heights under his watch."
Incoming commander, Col. Joshua Rockhill, director of operations, Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber), is no stranger to the 688th Cyberspace Wing. He recently completed two years in command as the 26th Cyberspace Operations Group commander and director of the 688th CW A5/8/9. Rockhill played a crucial role in standing up the A-Staff in place at the Wing today.
“This Wing is unique. I don’t know another where every single one of the 700,000 Airmen and Guardians rely on them. Maybe that is why we are the first,” Rockhill said.
“We already have the momentum with all of our mission partners, now we are just going to add more speed — I am at your disposal.”
Rockhill has held a variety of cyberspace positions at the Wing, Center, MAJCOM, Air Staff and Joint Staff levels, including two tours as squadron commander. Prior to his tenure at the Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) he graduated from the National War College following an assignment as the speechwriter for the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
“Rockhill’s understanding of the intelligence community and the deep partnerships necessary to succeed across interagency and joint force is unparalleled,” Gaedecke said.
“I have no doubts that Col. Rockhill is the right Airman to take the flag from Col. Hewitt and lead the 688th Cyberspace Wing to new heights.”