SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Col. Russell Driggers assumed command of the 80th Flying Training Wing during a ceremony at Sheppard AFB Aug. 24, 2018.
Maj. Gen. Patrick Doherty, commander of the 19th Air Force and a former commander of the 82nd Training Wing here at Sheppard, presided over the ceremony. He commented on the strength, unity and readiness of the 80th FTW, as well as how fortunate Sheppard is to be gaining Driggers as a commander.
In his first message as 80th FTW commander, Driggers spoke on three themes: gratitude, giving and gravity.
He spoke about his gratitude to God and his support system including friends, mentors, wife and children.
Driggers promised to give all his trust, respect and effort to the Euro-Nato Joint Jet Pilot Training program.
Lastly, he spoke about the gravity of the mission, training combat aviators for the United States and NATO and having the strongest alliance the world has ever known.
“If we ever begin to wonder why we do this mission or why we do this day-in and day-out, it’s because our nations came together knowing that the task of safeguarding our freedom and these principals is not an inheritance, it is a calling,” he said. “That, ladies and gentlemen, is gravity, and it is our why.”
Although Driggers is new to the 80th FTW, he is no stranger to Sheppard. Driggers served as a T-38A/C instructor, assistant operations officer for the 90th Flying Training Squadron from April 2004 through December 2006.
“Team Sheppard, team ENJJPT, local community, you should know this combat capability can boost relationships that we build to guarantee our security of freedom and the values we share,” Driggers said. “It starts here.”
Beginning his career in May 1995 he was commissioned upon graduating from the United States Air Force Academy as a distinguished graduate, Driggers has served in a variety of positions all over the world. He also has 2,100 flying hours, including 205 combat hours, in the F-15C/D Eagle and T-38A/C Talon.
For more information on Driggers, please see his official biography.