50th ARS “Red Devils” welcome new commander

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Shannon Bowman

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.