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50th ARS “Red Devils” welcome new commander

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Menola Guthrie, the 50th ARS commander, accepts the guidon from Col. Travis Edwards, the 6th Operations Group commander during a change of command ceremony, Aug. 2, 2019, at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. Guthrie’s appointment as the 50th ARS commander, marks her second command assignment, having previously served as the 28th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron commander, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar from April 2018 to August 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shannon Bowman)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Menola Guthrie, the 50th ARS commander, accepts the guidon from Col. Travis Edwards, the 6th Operations Group commander during a change of command ceremony, Aug. 2, 2019, at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. Guthrie’s appointment as the 50th ARS commander, marks her second command assignment, having previously served as the 28th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron commander, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar from April 2018 to August 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shannon Bowman)

Members of the 50th Air Refueling Squadron (ARS) render their first salute to U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Menola Guthrie, the 50th ARS commander, during a change of command ceremony, Aug. 2, 2019, at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.  Prior to assuming command of the 50th ARS, Guthrie served as the 6th Air Mobility Wing Inspector General. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shannon Bowman)

Members of the 50th Air Refueling Squadron (ARS) render their first salute to U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Menola Guthrie, the 50th ARS commander, during a change of command ceremony, Aug. 2, 2019, at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. Prior to assuming command of the 50th ARS, Guthrie served as the 6th Air Mobility Wing Inspector General. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shannon Bowman)

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

The 50th Air Refueling Squadron conducted a change of command ceremony Aug. 2, at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., where Lt. Col. Menola Guthrie received command from Lt. Col. Ricardo Lopez.

 

During the ceremony, Col. Travis Edwards, the 6th Operations Group commander, spoke about the merits of both the outgoing and incoming commanders.

 

 “I would say Lt. Col. Lopez brought the 50th ARS back to MacDill and was the right leader to stand up this squadron,” said Edwards.  “Lt. Col. Guthrie has succeeded at every turn in her career and I am confident she will lead this squadron to new heights.”

 

As the sole commander since the squadron’s MacDill homecoming in October 2017, Lopez oversaw the entire relocation and re-designation of the 50th ARS from the 50th Airlift Squadron out of Little Rock AFB, Arkansas.

 

Before passing the guidon, Lopez expressed how proud he is to have served with the 50th ARS.

 

“We were asked to set up a new refueling squadron at MacDill, and together, we established a KC-135 [Stratotanker aircraft] unit with one of the highest mission readiness statuses in the 18th Air Force,” said Lopez. “All I can say is that I am thankful to be a Red Devil.”

 

After officially taking command, Guthrie commended the efforts of Lopez, and the Airmen of the 50th ARS.

 

“I’ve been fortunate to see how strong leadership has transformed the 50th into the squadron it is today,” said Guthrie. “Thank you for leaving the squadron in such phenomenal shape, and I look forward to seeing all that we will accomplish together.”

 

Guthrie joins the 50th ARS following her tenure as the 6th Air Mobility Wing Inspector General. As a senior pilot, Guthrie has logged more than 2,500 flight hours, and has served in Air Mobility Command as both an instructor and evaluator pilot for the KC-135.