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Aviano's 31st Fighter Wing gets new commander

Italian and American airmen attend a 31st Fighter Wing change-of-command ceremony Friday, June 10, 2016, at a hangar on Aviano Air Base, Italy. Brig. Gen. Lance K. Landrum took command from Maj. Gen. Barre R. Seguin.

KENT HARRIS/STARS AND STRIPES

By KENT HARRIS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 10, 2016

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — Brig. Gen. Lance K. Landrum seems to be part of a trend.

None of the first 11 commanders of the 31st Fighter Wing since it activated in Aviano in 1994 had ever served a full tour on base before assuming command of the only fighter wing in Europe south of the Alps. Now, three of the last four have.

Landrum, who took command Friday from Maj. Gen. Barre R. Seguin in a ceremony officiated by Lt. Gen. Timothy R. Ray, showed off a bit of his language skills by delivering about a third of his speech in Italian.

He got a short round of applause for it — and a bit of envy from Seguin, who’s leaving for a post with U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany, after two years in Italy on his second tour at Aviano.

Maj. Gen. Scott J. Zobrist was the first wing commander to have previously served in another capacity at Aviano.

“While leaving Aviano is certainly bittersweet, the sweet part is having the Landrums join the team,” Seguin said.

Landrum, who served with Seguin in a fighter squadron in Korea early in their careers, has already been an Aviano team member in different roles over the years. He served in both the 555th and 510th Fighter Squadrons during previous stints.

Now he’ll be leading that team, and it’ll be a tough act to follow, according to Ray.

Ray, the 3rd Air Force Commander based at Ramstein, Germany, praised Seguin’s accomplishments during his tenure.

Accomplishments included getting six F-16s and 211 personnel to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey for action against targets in Syria and Iraq on less than a week’s notice.

And the highest possible nuclear inspection rating in 2015, according to the citation for an award he was issued.

“Best nuclear assurance inspection grade in years,” Ray said.

The Defense Department has a policy of neither confirming nor denying the presence of nuclear weapons at specific locations, though Aviano is widely believed to be one of the few bases in Europe that has them.

Landrum becomes the 15th commander of the wing at Aviano and 44th since U.S. forces first came to the base in 1955. He will command about 3,800 airmen and a force that’s expected to grow slightly in the next few years with the addition of an air control squadron and search-and-rescue personnel.

harris.kent@stripes.com
 

Brig. Gen. Lance K. Landrum, the new commander of the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy, surveys his airmen after taking command on Friday, June 10, 2016.
KENT HARRIS/STARS AND STRIPES

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