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Staine-Pyne takes command of 62nd Airlift Wing

Outgoing commander Col. Scovill Currin, Jr. awarded the Legion of Merit

Col. Erin M. Staine-Pyne, new commanding officer of the 62nd Airlift Wing, receives the wing guidon from Maj. Gen. Sam Barrett during the change of command ceremony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Jan. 10. Photo credit: Julie A. Ferraro

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The new commander of the 62nd Airlift Wing made a long journey to assume her new duties.

Or so Maj. Gen. Sam Barrett, 18th Air Force commander, joked during his remarks as presiding officer at the change of command ceremony on Jan. 10.

That distance amounted to approximately 25 feet, the distance between her old office and the new one she will be occupying, Barrett told the crowd from beneath the wing of a C-17 Globemaster in the hangar at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"Thank you for traveling all this way to take command," Barrett told Col. Erin Staine-Pyne as members of the wing, numerous dignitaries and civilians listened.

He also tasked the new commander with a chore.

"Please remove all Clemson flags from the commander's office," Barrett said. "It needs a complete scrub."

On a more serious note, Barrett advised the new commander that her time in charge of the wing would pass all too fast.

The 62nd Airlift Wing is the only Air Force unit charged with transporting nuclear weapons and related equipment for the U.S. military. It is comprised of more than 2,400 active-duty military and civilian personnel and 48 C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.

Barrett took time to recall a mission 20 years ago with outgoing commander, Col. Scovill Currin Jr. While the latter was a lieutenant, Barrett served with him and shared a Thanksgiving dinner together.

Currin is a command pilot with more than 800 flight hours of combat and combat support among his 3,000-plus total flight hours. He previously served on the Joint Staff, commanded the 437th Operations Group at Charleston Air Force Base, and was vice commander of the 916th Air Refueling Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

Barrett praised Currin for his leadership of the 62nd Airlift Wing since mid-2018. "You commanded during interesting times," Barrett said.

That included the closure of the wing's lone runway for four months while construction took place.

"You have a lot to be proud of," Barrett said.

He continued, "Erin, it's time to take them to new heights."

Barrett described Staine-Pyne as having service running deep in her veins, with many family members previously serving in the military. "I'm excited for the next chapter for you," he said.

Staine-Pyne is a command pilot with over 3,000 flight hours. She is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and previously served as commander of the 8th Airlift Squadron and the 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron.

"The guidon I'll hand you is light, but it carries a heavy burden," Barrett said. "I have every confidence your airmen will continue to thrive."

Barrett then stood beside Currin as the order was read awarding Currin the Legion of Merit.

Stepping to the podium, Currin admitted, "I have not looked forward to this day."

He acknowledged, "Leading this wing has been a labor of love."

He credited the wing for becoming his family, in addition to his wife, Lisa, and their children.

"If you're wearing this uniform, you've been a role model for my children," Currin said.

"Today is not about me. It's not about Erin. It's about you."

After the wing gave Currin a final salute, Barrett accepted the wing's guidon from Currin's hands, passing it to Staine-Pyne.

"You guys look incredibly sharp today," Staine-Pyne complimented the wing during her remarks.

"Col. Currin, sir, it's been a true honor to work for you," she added. Noting his passion, courage and authenticity, she said, "We're better for your leadership."

"We certainly have work to do here," Staine-Pyne said. "I have great confidence we're up to the task."

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