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Driggers assumes command of 80th FTW

A pilot salutes in front of a squadron of pilots also saluting.

80th Flying Training Wing squadrons render a salute at the start of the assumption of command ceremony at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Aug. 24, 2018. Although the new commander Col. Russell 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. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Pedro Tenorio)

Sheppard

Colonel Russell Driggers, right, 80th Flying Training Wing commander, salutes the colors as they sing the National Anthem at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Aug. 24, 2018. Driggers served as a T-38 A/C instructor at Sheppard before and is now returning to serve as the 80th's new commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Pedro Tenorio)

Sheppard

Maj. Gen. Patrick Doherty, left, commander of the 19th Air Force, passes the ceremonial guide-on to Col. Russell Driggers, incoming 80th Flying Training Wing Commander, during the 80th FTW Change of Command ceremony at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Aug. 24, 2018. 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. (U.S. Air Force photo Airman 1st Class Pedro Tenorio)

Col. Russell Driggers, 80th Flying Training Wing commander, stands at a podium and gives his first message.

Col. Russell Driggers, 80th Flying Training Wing commander, gives his speech during his Assumption of Command at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Aug. 24, 2018. In his first message as 80th FTW commander, Driggers spoke on three themes: gratitude, giving and gravity. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Pedro Tenorio)

Around eight squadrons hold out their guide-on flag and salute their new commander.

80th Flying Training Wing squadrons render the first salute to their new commander Col. Russell Driggers at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, 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. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Pedro Tenorio)

Col. Russell Driggers, 80th Flying Training Wing commander, gives his first speech.

Col. Russell Driggers, 80th Flying Training Wing commander, gives his speech during his Assumption of Command at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Aug. 24, 2018. In his first message as 80th FTW commander, Driggers spoke on three themes: gratitude, giving and gravity. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Pedro Tenorio)

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.