Fightin' Fifty-Fifth welcomes new commander

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  • 55th Wing Public Affairs

The Fightin' Fifty-Fifth, Air Combat Command’s largest wing, welcomed a new commander during a change of command ceremony June 8.

Col. Michael Manion assumed command of the 55th Wing from Col. Marty Reynolds during the time-honored military ceremony inside the Bennie Davis Maintenance Facility.

Maj. Gen. Mary F. O’Brien, 25th Air Force commander, presided over the ceremony. The general noted the wing was being handed over from one exceptional officer to another.

“He’s exactly the right leader to serve as the next commander of the 55th Wing,” O’Brien said. “His credentials are impressive, he knows the intricacies of air power and I firmly believe he’s the perfect choice to lead the Airmen of the 55th.”

Manion arrives in America’s Heartland after serving as the 39th Air Base Wing vice commander at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.

“After 22 years of being on the outside looking in at Offutt Air Force Base, it’s a tremendous honor to finally be able to call Offutt, the Fightin’ Fifty-Fifth and this beautiful community home,” Manion said. “Thank you for the opportunity to lead such a strategic wing and to serve 25th Air Force, Air Combat Command and the United States Air Force.”

Manion is a 1995 graduate of the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri and a master navigator and electronic warfare officer who has accumulated more than 2,400 flying hours in the EC-130E/H, MC-130H, T-43, T-39 and T-37.

“Had I had the opportunity to choose an assignment, this would have been it,” Manion said. “In large part, that’s because over the last three years in Korea and Turkey I was the recipient of 55th Wing air power. And more importantly, I had the opportunity to speak to the Airmen who were behind that air power. Their pride and performance was so fearless, I could not have wanted to go anywhere else.”

Reynolds leaves the wing for New York, New York where he will serve as a military liaison to the Council on Foreign Relations. In order to secure his next assignment, the Air Force chief of staff nominated Reynolds and an internal CFR selection panel, composed of a former secretary of defense, a former deputy secretary of defense and four retired four-stars, selected him.

O’Brien awarded Reynolds with the Legion of Merit during the ceremony as a result of his leadership of the wing since June 2015.

Reynolds closed by thanking the Airmen of the 55th for their dedication and told them they're in good hands with Manion.

“This has been the most memorable assignment of my career,” he said. “It’s been an absolute honor to serve as commander and teammate of the Fightin’ Fifty-Fifth.”

As commander of the 55th Wing, Manion is responsible for organizing, training, and equipping six groups and 32 squadrons who operate globally providing world-class intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to national decision makers.