Caresse Jackman

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Video: Columbus Air Force Base Welcomes New Commander

Change of CommandCOLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — In a formal change of command ceremony at Columbus Air Force Base, Col. Jim Sears handed over the reigns to Col. John Nichols.

“I’m very interested in talking to our airmen, learning about airmen and the connections between Columbus Air Force Base and the local communities,” Nichols said.

Before arriving in Columbus, Nichols served 22 years in the United States Air Force, flying B1 Bombers for over a decade.

“My last assignment prior to this command was out at Al Udeid Air Base in the Middle East. What was interesting was while I was there as the Combat Plans Divisions Chief, I had a chance to meet some of the airmen from Columbus that were fighting down range. And that was exceptional,” Nichols said.

Shortly after the ceremony, airmen formally introduced the commander to his new set of wings: the T-1 Aircraft, which he’ll personally fly and use for training future pilots. Nichols says his main objective now is maintaining the production of pilots at the base.

“The number of sorties that are flown here everyday, about 280 sorties, is absolutely incredible. It is a big venture and to keep that mission on track of building the world’s greatest pilots for the world’s greatest Air Force is absolutely the mission of the base,” Nichols said.

Nichols is happy he’s back in the states with his wife and 3 children. He’s also anxious to meet people in the friendly city.

“I tell you what, the hospitality and the reception that we received from everyone from the time that we arrived at the front gate the town has just been exceptional,” Nichols said.

Sears is moving to Randolf Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.