News: Sather Air Base welcomes new commander
Story by Master Sgt. Brian Davidson
By Master Sgt. Brian Davidson
447th Air Expeditionary Group
Col. Jon Andre assumed command of the 447th Air Expeditionary Group in a ceremony at Sather Air Base, Iraq, Dec. 1.
Brig. Gen. Brian Bishop, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander, presided over the event where Col. David Pavey relinquished command of the 447th AEG, located on the west side of Baghdad International Airport.
Andre commands seven squadrons and is responsible for the movement of passengers and cargo at the primary air hub in Iraq. Sather Air Base has more than 1,200 people assigned, providing base operating support, aerial port operations and airspace and airfield command and control. He also oversees support for several tenant units including the Army, Royal Air Force and the coalition air forces training team as well as direct combat and combat support units.
In addition, Andre provides support for airlift and travel of U.S., Iraqi and coalition political and military leaders.
In a meeting with the command staff, Andre explained that the group plays a critical role in developing the future of Iraq.
"I have a profound appreciation for your unwavering dedication to this necessary endeavor to bring freedom to the people of Iraq," Andre said. "The work that you are doing here is laying the foundation for peace in the Middle East for generations to come."
Andre is an Air Force Reservist and comes to the 447th AEG from Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga., where he is the 22nd Air Force vice commander. He is a command pilot with more than 8,000 flying hours in military and civilian aircraft. In his civilian career, he is an MD-88 pilot for Delta Airlines.
The 447th AEG was activated at Baghdad International Airport in April 2003 shortly after elements of the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division captured the airport. Sather Air Base received its name in April 2005, in honor of Staff Sgt. Scott Sather who was killed in combat operations shortly after Operation Iraqi Freedom began in March 2003. The group is a self-sufficient and geographically-separated unit of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, Joint Base Balad.