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Reins of Flying Tigers changes hands

  • Published
  • By Andrea Jenkins
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

The Flying Tigers welcomed Col. Jennifer Short as she took command of the installation during a change of command ceremony July 10.

This ceremony marked the first time a female will command the storied unit and the first time a fighter pilot will command the 23rd Wing since its reactivation at Moody AFB in 2006. 

 “Command is a tremendous privilege, and I am grateful for the opportunity to lead Airmen,” Short said. “I’m particularly looking forward to leading and serving alongside our great Airmen at Moody, as well as at Davis-Monthan, Nellis and Avon Park.”

The 9th Air Force commander, who presided over the ceremony, believes Short is the commander for the job, and the wing is in more than capable hands.

“Colonel Short comes to us with a very impressive resume filled with a range of assignments and accomplishments that have prepared her for this challenge and position”, said Maj. Gen. Scott J. Zobrist. “Not only is she an accomplished aviator, she is a current qualified instructor pilot in the ‘hawg,’ recently qualified in the HH-60G and has a variety of combat experience throughout her career.

“If anyone understands the operations tempo of 23rd Wing Airmen in today’s fight against ISIS, it is Colonel Short,” Zobrist continued. “Her flying and leadership experience make her the right commander for this wing, which is continuously engaged in combat operations.”

Short may be new to Moody, but she is no stranger to the base’s mission and airframes; prior to flying the A-10C Thunderbolt II, she served as a navigator aboard the C-130E Hercules.

“One of the things that makes our military the best in the world is the diversity we strive to achieve and we value,” Short said. “Our different experiences, skill sets and backgrounds enable us to provide different perspectives and ideas that serve to benefit our units and organizations.

“As a fighter pilot, and specifically an A-10 and SANDY trained pilot, I have worked closely with the rescue community and benefited from their support,” Short added. “I have great respect and a tremendous appreciation for what the Flying Tigers bring to the fight.

The 23rd Wing command chief believes Short’s 22 years of service and aviation experience presents an opportunity unlike the 23rd has ever had.

“Having knowledge of all three airframes at Moody is a significant advantage for the wing commander here,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jarrod Sebastian, 23rd Wing command chief. “It is one thing to advocate on someone's behalf through dialogue and education but it is entirely another when you can do so from past experience. I believe there is no better individual to lead our wing, our Airmen and our mission than Colonel Short. She will no doubt add to the Flying Tiger legacy and do amazing things while here.”

Sebastian added he is excited to work alongside Short and carry her vision and message for the wing. 

“We have a very important mission, and as Flying Tigers, we will always pursue excellence in everything we do,” Short said. “Our people are our most important assets, and that includes our families. I expect you to look out for one another and make sure we’re doing right by our people.”

To meet these goals Short has outlined three priorities for the wing, which she proclaims will pave the way for the Flying Tigers’ continued success.

“[My Priorities include] ensuring that we are the experts at our craft – highly trained, highly skilled and always striving to learn and grow,” Short said. “This will enable us to be always ready – always ready to respond when called upon to provide lethal airpower, rescue capability and to give the very best support to the warfighter. We will always take care of our airmen and families – recognizing that our people are our most important assets.”

The Arizona State Alumna describes herself as direct and deliberate but still very approachable.

“You’ll find I am very straightforward,” Short said. “I do believe it’s important to empower people, but you also owe it to them to provide guidance and constructive feedback and I will do that.

“I recognize I can sometimes seem overly serious and focused,” Short added. “But, the reality is I am very approachable and I’m very excited to be in a position where I can be around Airmen – and their families. I plan to spend as much time as I can, particularly in these early weeks, out meeting people and getting to know them and the units.”

Short’s message to the Airmen of Team Moody on day one is she is glad to be here and proud to be their commander. She wants everyone to know she will work tirelessly to ensure they have everything needed to conduct a safe and successful mission.

“I will always listen to my staff and commanders’ input, and I want them to give me their honest perspectives,” Short said. “But, then when I make a decision, that’s the decision and I expect folks to execute my guidance to the best of their abilities.”

Short said her and her family are excited to be at Moody and are really looking forward to meeting everyone, getting involved in the community and leading the Flying Tigers.

“The 23rd Wing is a world-class unit and an outstanding team, and I’m looking forward to continuing the great work that has earned the Flying Tigers a well-deserved reputation of excellence,” Short said.