By Christie Vanover, 57th Wing Public Affairs, 57th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 18, 2021
Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command, passes the guidon to incoming U.S. Air Force Warfare Center commander, Maj. Gen. Case Cunningham, during a change of command ceremony at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, June 18, 2021. The USAFWC develops innovative leaders and full-spectrum capabilities through responsive, realistic, and relevant testing, tactics development and advanced training across all levels of war. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dwane R. Young)
Maj. Gen. Case Cunningham, U.S. Air Force Warfare Center commander, gives a speech after assuming command at a change of command ceremony at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, June 18, 2021. As the USAFWC commander, Cunningham will oversee four wings and two named units with more than 13,000 military and civilian personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dwane R. Young)
Col. Ryan Messer, 53rd Wing commander, passes the guidon to Col. Jason Zumwalt, the incoming 53rd Test and Evaluation Group commander, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, June 17, 2021. Zumwalt took command of the 53rd TEG which is responsible for delivering safe and effective tactics that enhance the Combat Air Force's lethality and executes Air Combat Command's operational test and evaluation for 13 different airframes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bryan Guthrie)
U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Michael R. Drowley (left), 57th Wing commander, passes the U.S. Air Force Weapons School guidon to U.S. Air Force Col. Daniel Lehoski (right), incoming USAFWS commander, during the USAFWS change of command ceremony at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, June 18, 2021. The mission of the USAFWS is to teach graduate-level instructor courses that provide the world’s most advanced training in weapons and tactics employment to Air Force officers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dylan Murakami)
Col. Richard Dickens, 505th Command and Control Wing commander, passes the guidon to Col. Aaron Gibney, 505th Combat Training Group commander, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, June 18, 2021. The 505th CTG mission is to conduct operational assessments/experimentation, develop advanced tactics and train warfighters for multi-domain integration. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bryan Guthrie)
Maj. Gen. Case Cunningham took command of the United States Air Force Warfare Center from Maj. Gen. Charles Corcoran in the Thunderbirds Hangar June 18, 2021.
Gen. Mark D. Kelly, Air Combat Command commander, presided over the ceremony and passed the Warfare Center colors to Cunningham to signify the transfer of responsibility and authority.
“Maj. Gen. Cunningham knows exciting technology, the cutting-edge Air Force programs that our Air Force needs, and he has the talent, resume and experience to implement the Nellis vision that our nation requires,” said Kelly.
As the USAFWC commander, Cunningham will oversee four wings and two named units with more than 13,000 military and civilian personnel serving in the 57th Wing, 53rd Wing, 99th Air Base Wing, 505th Command and Control Wing, the Nevada Test and Training Range, and the Air Force Joint Test Program Office.
Cunningham has held previous assignments in the Las Vegas area at Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases, including Assistant Operations Officer and Flight Commander for the 433rd Weapons Squadron, Aide-de-Camp to the Commander of the USAFWC, Commander/Leader of the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron “Thunderbirds,” and commander of the 432nd Wing and 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing.
“As an Airman warfighter, I have always felt that Nellis is home,” said Cunningham. “The saying ‘as goes the Warfare Center, so goes the Air Force’ definitely applies to all 13,000 Airmen of the Warfare Center led by the amazing wing commanders and leadership teams, not only here at Nellis but across the 20 other states and 54 other locations that make this organization the warfighting heartbeat of our Air Force.
“It is you, Warfare Center Airmen, working in collaboration with our Air Force joint interagency, ally and partner organizations, supported by your families and the communities we call home, who are absolutely fundamental and critical to honing our warfighting edge and accelerating the change that we need to maintain our ability to fly, fight, win and deliver airpower anytime, anywhere,” he continued.
Prior to taking command, Cunningham served as the director of plans, programs and requirements for ACC. He received his commission in 1994 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and is a graduate of the Air Force Weapons Instructor Course. He holds multiple masters degrees and a doctorate in philosophy.
As a command pilot, Cunningham has more than 3,200 flight hours in the F-15C/D, F-22A, F-16C/D, MC-12W and MQ-9.
“I’m absolutely honored to join you in this critical mission in these dynamic times and am incredibly excited to continue Maj. Gen Corcoran’s legacy of leadership in this important role,” said Cunningham.
Upon his departure, Corcoran was presented with the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal for his leadership of the USAFWC and Air Force initiatives, including the next generation air dominance force development, advanced programs security mitigation, full-mission simulation for a comprehensive test and training program, and the Advanced Battle Management System.
“Maj. Gen. Corcoran set the vision for what Nellis and the Warfare Center enterprise will be for years to come,” said Kelly. “He was instrumental to new weapons, new weapons school instructor course standup and improved our operational test and training infrastructure. As a fourth- and fifth-gen air superiority expert, he ensured that those generations of air superiority are not the last generations of air superiority for this nation.”
Corcoran took command of the USAFWC in July 2019. One of his primary objectives was the launch of a $500 million operational training and testing construction project to facilitate fully integrated joint and allied test, ensuring top-tier training against adversary threats.
“We are at a pivotal time in our nation’s history. It is our Airmen who are going to carry us through this,” Corcoran said.
“What we need to do as leaders is give them the tools they need, give them the direction and guidance they deserve and get out of the way. I am confident, 100% confident, that going forward if we can do that for them, they’ll deliver like so many generations before. Like so many wonderful generations, they’re willing to sacrifice, to pay the price, bearing any burden to make sure that our Air Force can continue to fly, flight and win anywhere, anytime for our nation and for our like-minded allies,” he concluded as he bid farewell.
Corcoran’s next assignment is as the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Headquarters Air Force at the Pentagon, which develops combat readiness, force management, Air Force policy and operational test and training infrastructure.
In addition to the change in leadership at the USAFWC, several other changes of command occurred at Nellis Air Force Base June 17-18.
Col. Jason Zumwalt assumed command of the 53rd Test and Evaluation Group, 53rd Wing from Col. William Creeden. Col. Daniel Lehoski assumed command of the USAF Weapons School, 57th Wing from Col. Jack Arthaud. Col. Aaron Gibney assumed command of the 505th Combat Training Group, 505th Command and Control Wing from Col. Shayne Yorton.