WPAFB, Ohio (WDTN) – A changing of the guard Thursday at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Colonel John Devillier officially succeeded Colonel Cassie Barlow as commander of the 88th Air Base Wing.
The wing supports Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and its 27,000 employees. Devillier didn’t waste anytime laying out the base’s most important mission.
“Our primary purpose of the 88th Air Base Wing is the protection of this installation and all the mission partners on this installation so that has to be our number one priority,” Devillier says.
Devillier says he doesn’t have any specific security changes at this point, but he did talk about what he thinks will be the base’s biggest obstacle during his time as commander.
“The Department of Defense and the Air Force is under great strain due to the Budget Control Act,” Devillier says. “I think that’s going to be the number one challenge we face.”
Just this week we learned the base will lose 372 positions because of cuts to military headquarters personnel nationwide.
Devillier says the base will have to find creative ways of doing things to deal with the new budget realities.
“We have to look for innovative ways to protect our national treasure, which are our resources,” Devillier says.
Dealing with budget cuts is what marked Colonel Barlow’s two years in command.
Air Force officials praised how she handled furloughs due to sequestration and a government shutdown that temporarily closed the base.
Devillier hopes to build on her success.
“I’m going to be just as eager and just as active as she was,” Devillier says.
The Change of Command ceremony was Barlow’s final act in the military. She retired from the Air Force after 26 years of service.
In a one-on-one interview with our Katie Ussin, she said it was a family decision to move on in her life. Her daughter will be a senior in high school, so they plan to stay in the Miami Valley.
She says it’s been an amazing honor and a huge privilege to serve at Wright-Patterson as a member of the Air Force.