Like a Baton in a Relay, 916 SFS Changes Command

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mary McKnight
  • 916 ARW/PA

The 916th Security Forces Squadron hosts a change of command ceremony welcoming their new commander, Lt. Col. Christopher L. Grady, at the base theatre, February 5.

Like a baton in a relay, the responsibility of the squadron is passed from commander to commander, carrying it to the next leg of the marathon.

"It was an honor to work with and for the Defenders of the 916 SFS," said Lt. Col. Von Thiphavong, the previous commander of the 916 SFS. "The lessons learned while assigned to the 916 SFS have made me a better leader and person. As I transition from command, I look forward to the challenges and lessons that I will learn in my next assignment," said Thiphavong.

Like any passing of a baton, the best transition is a smooth handoff, and that's what Thiphavong provided for Grady as he takes command of the SFS.

"We've had the opportunity to talk and interact throughout the years, but never in person," said Grady to Thiphavong during his speech at the CoC. "But over the past couple of months, you have done an outstanding job of preparing me to take command of this unit. It has been a smooth process, filled with lots of information, and I can't thank you enough."

As one leg begins, another ends.

You're coming at the right time. Just as we spoke, I know you'll keep doing great things and push this unit to higher heights. I'm looking forward to seeing what you and the 916th do going forward, said Thiphavong to Grady in his farewell speech during the CoC.

There was a successful handoff, and Grady now has possession of the baton.

"Men and women of the 916th Security Forces Squadron," Grady directly addresses the SFS. "It is an absolute honor to be a new commander here, and I am so excited to get to know all of you, learn what you're doing, and work with you. As a new commander coming into a highly effective unit, it's difficult to think which direction to take and which way we're going to focus, but I can tell you right now, we're going to focus on the basics: training, readiness, and development."

Grady is off to a strong start, with a learning mindset.

"Do not be afraid of failure," said Grady. "A unit that has a "never fail" mentality only breeds mediocracy, and you are not mediocre. Every time we fail, we learn, it's feedback, and we're going to continue to get better. When you show up here on a drill weekend, I need you checked in with 100% effort, and when you go back home, you take care of business there."

According to Grady, squadron command is the best job in the Air Force, and he looks forward to joining the SFS family and continuing the great work the Defenders do every day.