DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. --
Col. Matthew Jones took command of the 436th Airlift Wing from Col. Joel Safranek during a change of command ceremony at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Jan. 7, 2020.
Jones takes command of the 436th AW following a two-year stint as the wing’s vice commander. His career highlights include being the first Air Force Chief of Staff Intermediate Developmental Education Scholar at Harvard and several tours of duty in the Pentagon at the Air Force and Defense Secretary levels. He is a command pilot with more than 2,000 flight hours in the T-37, T-1A and several variations of the C-5.
During his initial address as commander of the “Eagle Wing,” Jones addressed both Dover AFB and community members in unison, citing the importance of the relationships between the base and surrounding area.
“When [Air Mobility Command] chose to stray from the norm and allow the vice to ‘fly up’ to the command position, I committed that it not just be my family who benefits from the added time in place,” Jones said. “My commitment is that the relationships and partnerships the base has with the community are equally strengthened by the continuity of this longer than typical assignment.”
Maj. Gen. Sam Barrett, 18th Air Force commander, presided over the ceremony, passing the 436th AW guidon between commanders.
Barrett praised Jones’ talents and abilities to lead the wing, citing the strong support network at Dover AFB, and expressed confidence that members of the base will continue to thrive.
“Joel, I commend you for a job well done. Your leadership set the bar high as a warrior wing,” Barrett said. ”Matt, you’re the right man at the right time. When leading our great Airmen, you tell them what to do with confidence and vitality.”
Safranek departs the base for an assignment as deputy director of the Strategic Plans, Policy and Logistics Division within U.S. Transportation Command at Scott AFB, Illinois.
During his tenure, the wing flew more than 5,000 sorties, including over 1,100 in direct support of combat operations around the world. The base also hosted more than 40,000 people during the 2019 Thunder Over Dover Air Show and Open House, and earned the 2019 Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.
“I’ve become a better person by being commander of this wing,” said Safranek in his final address to members of Dover AFB. “This assignment has been the highlight of my career. Dover [AFB] tails supported the President of the United States, carried wounded across the globe to safety and medical care, carried humanitarian relief supplies following a disaster and delivered warfighters to the fight. Dover, be proud of what you have done and I look forward to watching this wing continue to deliver excellence.”
Jones addressed the wing with a firm commitment to readiness, accountability and a desire to strive for excellence.
“To the Eagle Wing, my commitment to you is that while leading selflessly and fairly, I will not shy away from the bold leadership you deserve, and I will never forget that it is in our squadrons where Airmen thrive and the mission happens,” Jones said. “It is my desire, as the world’s premier airlift wing, to operate the best, care the most and have fun along the way.”