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The Mighty Eighth and J-GSOC welcome new commander

Maj. Gen. Andrew Gebara, center, incoming 8th Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center commander, receives the guidon from Gen. Tim Ray, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, during a change of command ceremony at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., August 16, 2021. The passing of a unit’s guidon symbolizes a transfer of command. (U.S. Air Force photo by  Senior Airman Jovante Johnson)

Maj. Gen. Andrew Gebara, center, incoming 8th Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center commander, receives the guidon from Gen. Tim Ray, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, during a change of command ceremony at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., August 16, 2021. The passing of a unit’s guidon symbolizes a transfer of command. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jovante Johnson)

Maj. Gen. Andrew Gebara, incoming 8th Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center commander, and his wife stand outside of the 8th Air Force commander's B-52H Stratofortress at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., August 16, 2021. Gebara was introduced to his aircraft after he assumed command of the 8th Air Force and J-GSOC. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jovante Johnson)

Maj. Gen. Andrew Gebara, incoming 8th Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center commander, and his wife stand outside of the 8th Air Force commander's B-52H Stratofortress at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., August 16, 2021. Gebara was introduced to his aircraft after he assumed command of the 8th Air Force and J-GSOC. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jovante Johnson)

Maj. Gen. Andrew Gebara, center, incoming 8th Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center commander, renders a salute to Gen. Tim Ray, left, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, during a change of command ceremony at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., August 16, 2021. A change of command is a military tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one commanding or flag officer to another. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jovante Johnson)

Maj. Gen. Andrew Gebara, center, incoming 8th Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center commander, renders a salute to Gen. Tim Ray, left, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, during a change of command ceremony at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., August 16, 2021. A change of command is a military tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one commanding or flag officer to another. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jovante Johnson)

Gen. Tim Ray, left, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, Lt. Gen. (select) Mark Weatherington, center, outgoing 8th Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center commander, and Maj. Gen. Andrew Gebara, incoming 8th Air Force and J-GSOC commander, stand at attention during  a change of command ceremony at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., August 16, 2021. A change of command is a military tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one commanding or flag officer to another. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jovante Johnson)

Gen. Tim Ray, left, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, Lt. Gen. (select) Mark Weatherington, center, outgoing 8th Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center commander, and Maj. Gen. Andrew Gebara, incoming 8th Air Force and J-GSOC commander, stand at attention during a change of command ceremony at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., August 16, 2021. A change of command is a military tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one commanding or flag officer to another. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jovante Johnson)

Maj. Gen. Andrew Gebara, incoming 8th Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center commander, addresses the crowd during a change of command ceremony at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., August 16, 2021. A change of command is a military tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one commanding or flag officer to another. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jovante Johnson)

Maj. Gen. Andrew Gebara, incoming 8th Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center commander, addresses the crowd during a change of command ceremony at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., August 16, 2021. A change of command is a military tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one commanding or flag officer to another. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jovante Johnson)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --

Lt. Gen. (select) Mark Weatherington relinquished command of the nation’s bomber force to Maj. Gen. Andrew Gebara during a change of command ceremony at Barksdale AFB, La., today.

The commander of Air Force Global Strike Command officiated the event.

“I am particularly proud of the Eighth Air Force and the Joint-Global Strike Operations Center team,” said Gen. Timothy Ray, AFGSC commander. “I take comfort in the leadership and team that will carry on the bomber tradition.”

Family, friends, local community leaders and Airmen across the enterprise who could not attend the event in person were also able to view the ceremony via video live stream  in order to keep in accordance with social distancing guidelines and preventative health measures in response to COVID-19.

In his final moments as commander, Weatherington reflected upon his time within the historic “Mighty Eighth” unit.

“America’s bomber force is second to none -- a testament to the professionalism and dedication of the men and women who maintain, operate, support and direct the free world’s premier long-range strike force,” said Weatherington. “It has been my distinct honor to serve alongside and lead these remarkable Airmen.”

With the passing of the flag, Gebara officially became the 56th commander of The Mighty Eighth, an organization with approximately 21,000 Airmen across six installations, proudly operating more than 150 E-4, B-1, B-2, B-52 and T-38 aircraft.

“There is no doubt U.S. bombers remain and will continue to be in high demand in every area of responsibility across the globe,” said Gebara. “We will continue to be ready to fight tonight, while bridging to the future force our nation needs to keep our country safe.”

As the leader for U.S. bomber forces, Gebara also assumed the role of commander for the Joint-Global Strike Operations Center, which plans and executes strategic deterrence and global strike operations for U.S. Strategic Command air components.

The roles and responsibilities as the leader of the Air Force’s bomber force are many, but Gebara said he remains eager for the challenge and puts faith in his newfound team.