SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. --
Col. Mark Massaro relinquished command of the 495th Fighter Group to Col. John Galloway Jr. during a change of command ceremony at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, June 29, 2022. Brig. Gen. David Mineau, 15th Air Force vice commander, presided over the ceremony.
The 495th Fighter Group originated as the 495th Fighter Training Group and was activated on October 26, 1943, and was disbanded on April 15, 1945. The 495th Fighter Group reactivated March 8, 2013 at Shaw Air Force Base, and was dedicated to pilot absorption and the development of 26 different Air Force Specialties.
The group has nine squadrons located across the United States housing four different fourth and fifth generation fighter aircraft with more than 800 active duty Airmen supporting Total Force Integration missions.
“Even in the best of times, commanding the 495th is a difficult task. Col Massaro is responsible for a network of Airmen distributed across 23 different Air Guard and Reserve installations in the United States. The 495th Fighter Group’s span of control is unmatched by any other Group in the Air Force,” said Mineau. “You have successfully executed a very challenging and complex strategic plan. As commander, you deployed Airpower whenever it was needed, while correctly focusing on our most treasured resource; our Airmen. The 495th has been exceptional because you have led them well.”
Before relinquishing command, Massaro was awarded the Legion of Merit, and shared his appreciation for his mentors, leadership, family, and the many relationships that were built across the Group’s organization.
“It’s a unique group…without buying any more airplanes or building any more airplanes, we have organized ourselves, developed relationships and have applied some limited resources, and made it so we have effectively created a virtual wing for the Air Force,” said Massaro. “Organizational innovation is how we can get after some of these challenges that all of us are going to be dealing with over the next five to ten years. Think different. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. This Group is a great example of that…and it takes relationships and willingness to make it happen.”
Massaro closed with his comments welcoming in the new commander and then ceremoniously changed command by passing the 495 FG’s flag to Galloway.
“Our families they’re the ones that sacrifice, I made the commitment to the 495th families that I’m here for you and I’m going to do my best to care of everyone…I’m really looking forward to serving our Airmen,” said Galloway. “The combatant commands cannot get enough of one thing and that’s United States Air Force Air Power, and a big part of that is the Combat Air Force, and a huge part of that are the 23 Total Force Wings that are on call, and the 495th enables those missions. The Airmen of the 495th are an integral part of our Nation’s combat readiness. I’m excited to rejoin the men and women of the 495th Fighter Group, our Guard and Reserve teammates in pursuit of this mission.”