Pease Defenders Get New Commander

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Curt Lenz
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing
Capt. Aaron C. McCarthy assumed command of the 157th Security Forces Squadron from Lt. Col. Jassen L. Bluto during a change of command ceremony, June 2, 2018, here. 

As commander of the 157th SFS, McCarthy will manage the airmen who are responsible for the security of more than 1,300 personnel and $850 million in assets on the installation. 

Bluto, who took command of the squadron in 2010, reflected about his tenure as commander.

“We started this whole adventure together almost 4 years ago with the idea that we could build a great squadron by focusing on people”, said Bluto. “The vision was that if we put our time into the personal and professional development of people they would actually excel to a point in which the mission would not only take care of itself but we would lead the wing and the security forces enterprise in all we do.”

With a new chapter in the squadron on the horizon Bluto expressed his confidence in McCarthy. 

“I think we have succeeded in this but there is more to do and I believe Capt. McCarthy is the one to lead you to the next level,” said Bluto. 

During the ceremony, both leaders had an opportunity to recognize each other’s accomplishments.

“Taking command is an honor and privilege”, said McCarthy. “I’m happy about it. But really, command, to me, is a responsibility. It’s a responsibility to do your best to carry the flag forward a little but, to hopefully better the squadron and the lives of the people in it.  It’s not about me.” 

McCarthy rose through the ranks as an enlisted finance airman and then commissioned as a public affairs officer. He then served as the wing executive officer and then most recently as the 157th SFS operations officer. 

McCarthy hinted that while transition signals a time of change, some things in the squadron may stay the same.

“I have trust in the commanders before me and what they said and did is still part of the unit,” said McCarthy.  “Things will change as time goes on, but that initial acknowledgement is crucial for continuity and dependability for the unit.”

McCarthy acknowledges the transition in leadership is one of mutual respect.

“I want to say that I wholeheartedly embrace the vision that Col. Bluto put in place and I appreciate the major strides forward that he took,” said McCarthy.

The outgoing commander lauded McCarthy’s leadership abilities in a quote.

“I was reading some writing by Jocko Williams and this statement made me think of Capt. McCarthy and the leadership I have witnessed in him over these almost 4 years”, said Bluto. “‘A leader must be attentive to details, but not obsessed with them.  They must be strong but have endurance.  A leader must be humble, but not passive.  They must be close to subordinates, but not too close.  A leader must exercise ‘extreme ownership’, but employ decentralized command’. They must have nothing to prove, but everything to prove.’”

As the torch of command was passed, the outgoing commander explained how the quote exemplifies McCarthy’s abilities. 

“This really speaks to the qualities and abilities that you have and why it has been and honor to serve with you and it is my great pleasure to turn command of the 157th Security Forces Squadron to you today,” said Bluto.