Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, an experienced command pilot who was previously head of Air Force Special Operations Command, took command of Air Education and Training Command Friday,
In the change of command ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph in Texas, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein called Webb “a mature, calm, seasoned and focused warfighter who has participated in almost every combat operation we have waged across the globe as a special operator.”
Goldfein also called Webb “our point man for the takedown of Osama bin Laden," according to an AETC release. Webb is shown seated next to President Obama in the famous photo of the White House situation room during the May 2, 2011, raid on the al Qaida leader’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. At that time, Webb was a brigadier general serving as assistant commanding general for Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
“From humanitarian relief for Hurricane Andrew, to saving a downed pilot behind enemy lines in Bosnia, he actually hasn’t missed a fight,” Goldfein said. “I cannot wait to watch this command flourish under your steady and quietly confident hand.”
Webb has more than 3,700 hours flying aircraft such as the CV-22 Osprey, UH-1N Huey, MH-53 Pave Low, MC-130H Combat Talon and MC-130P Combat Shadow. His experience includes 117 hours flying combat in Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia.
“Achieving victory takes hard work, training, good equipment and most importantly it takes unique people,” Webb said in the ceremony. AETC “simply must arm our airmen to out-think, out-perform, out-partner and out-innovate any potential adversary.”
“We must do this with commitment to values, because military prowess and economic might alone are not enough to secure our blessings of liberty,” Webb continued. “Our values, our character will be our guiding beacon. This is the mindset we must continue to instill here at the First Command, and we will.”
He graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1984, and won the 1996 Cheney Award for most valorous flight of the year in a humanitarian effort. Webb was involved in the effort to search for then-Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, who was aboard an Air Force CT-43 aircraft that crashed into a mountainside near Dubrovnik, Croatia, in April 1996, killing all 35 people aboard.
As head of AETC, Webb will oversee the Air Force Recruiting Service, basic military training, Air University, and two numbered air forces that run flying training and technical training. AETC’s mission includes training American and allied service members on intelligence, air base support, languages, cyber operations, and space and nuclear missile systems.
AETC has been working on ways to improve and accelerate pilot training through initiatives such as the virtual reality Pilot Training Next program.
Webb. who is now the 34th commander of AETC, succeeds Lt. Gen. Steve Kwast. It is not yet clear if Kwast will retire.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.