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Ops group welcomes new commander

Two Airmen salute each other while a third looks on holding a guideon

Col. John Litecky, right, 55th Operations Group commander, salutes Col. Gavin Marks, left, 55th Wing commander, after assuming command of the 55th OG during a ceremony here July 31, 2020. Litecky returns to the Fightin’ Fifty where he has served in multiple positions throughout his career to include in the 38th Reconnaissance Squadron, 95th Reconnaissance, 338th Combat Training Squadron and 55th Operations Support Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jessica Montaño)

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. --

The 55th Operations Group held a change of command ceremony here July 31, 2020.

Col. John Litecky assumed command from outgoing commander Col. Eric Paulson in a ceremony officiated by Col. Gavin Marks, 55th Wing commander.

“We’re proud to welcome Colonel Litecky back to our family,” Marks said, “and eagerly anticipate the future accomplishments that will come under his leadership.”

Litecky returns to the wing where he has served in multiple positions throughout his career to include in the 38th Reconnaissance Squadron, 95th Reconnaissance, 338th Combat Training Squadron and 55th Operations Support Squadron.

“There are tremendous things in store for the 55th Operations Group as Colonel Litecky takes the guidon,” Marks said. “He is uniquely qualified to continue in the mold of tremendous leadership that our 55th Operations Group has to come to know and expect.”

Prior to taking command, Litecky was the Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Division, Information Dominance Programs chief for the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force.

“It is so good to be home … and my absolute honor to take the flag as (the OG) commander,” Litecky said. “I walked through the doors of the Bennie Davis Maintenance Facility to join the 38th Reconnaissance Squadron just over 21 years ago.”

Litecky is a master navigator with more than 2,800 flight hours.

“Colonel Paulson has positioned this group so well,” Litecky said. “I promise I will continue to build upon on all of the efforts he has started.”

Paulson leaves the wing for Air Combat Command, where he will be the Information Warfare Division chief.

“Today is somewhat bittersweet as we are bidding farewell to a giant in the ISR community,” Marks said. “Colonel Paulson is a consummate professional, superior leader and is going to leave an enormous void in our 55th Operations Group and our wing.”

The outgoing commander has spent the majority of his career serving in a variety of positions within the Fightin’ Fifty-Fifth.

“Today is a tough day and an exciting day at the same time,” Paulson said. “I cannot have had the honor and privilege of working with a better team.”

The 55th OG is the largest operations group in the Air Force with 11 squadrons and two detachments around the world. They operate five C-135 variants providing airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance as well as treaty verification missions.