SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. — Col. Kurt Helphinstine relinquished command of the 4th Fighter Wing to Col. Lucas Teel during the official 4th FW Change of Command ceremony at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, May 11, 2022.
Teel, an F-15E Strike Eagle pilot with more than 2,500 flight hours was previously stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, where he served as the 366th FW vice commander.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to be serving as the 4th FW commander here at Seymour Johnson AFB,” said Teel. “It’s a huge responsibility that I don’t take lightly to take care of the men and women of Team Seymour and their families. I look forward to building relationships with our team and to making sure our Airmen are taken care of and have the tools they need to complete the mission.”
Before officially relinquishing command during the ceremony, Helphinstine spoke about how proud he was to have worked in his position.
“It has been an honor to serve alongside the members of the 4th FW,” said Helphinstine. “It’s been awesome to see how capable, motivated and lethal our wing has been in all types of missions; from deployments down range, to going to Holloman, to heavy exercises at home, to working through Covid-19. It was an honor to be part of such an elite team that’s so high performing.”
Maj. Gen. Michael G. Koscheski, Fifteenth Air Force commander, presided over the ceremony and addressed both Helphinstine and Teel.
“Col. Helphinstine, your steady leadership has kept the men and women of the 4th FW professional, lethal, and ready to take care of our nation’s business every day… we are all grateful for your leadership and very proud of you,” said Koscheski. “Col. Teel understands the mission of the 4th FW and the challenges that come along with the job…you are well prepared to lead and I have complete faith that you will continue this wing’s legacy and take care of our incredible Airmen.”
Teel will now head the 4th FW, which encompasses one of the Air Force’s largest fighter wings, with 94 F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft and nearly 7,000 total force Airmen.