Col. Christopher Sage took command of the 4th Fighter Wing from Col. Mark Slocum during a change of command ceremony at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, June 30.
Maj. Gen. Scott Zobrist, Ninth Air Force commander, presided over the ceremony, passing the 4th FW guidon between commanders.
“The Seymour Johnson team, in partnership with the local community, has set the standard,” said Sage. “Not just for Air Combat Command, but for the entire Air Force. As I take the baton, we now join this impressive team, a team that has hit its stride.”
Sage, who served at Seymour Johnson AFB on two previous assignments, was most recently the senior military assistant to the deputy chairman of the NATO Military Committee in Brussels, Belgium. He was stationed here in December 1994 for F-15E Strike Eagle pilot training, and again from 2004-2007 as a member of the 336th Fighter Squadron Rocketeers.
During his first address to the wing, Sage told several stories of courage.
“My pledge to you today, is that I will also lead with courage,” he said. “I will follow the example of the heroes I highlighted today and I will continue to build community among Airmen while carrying on the work of connecting us to the mission.”
During his career, Sage has supported several overseas contingency operations and logged more than 4,100 flight hours, including 1,100 combat hours.
Slocum departs the base for an assignment as director of U.S. Air Forces in Europe-United Kingdom, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England.
During his command, Slocum began the Make it Better campaign which led to the creation of more than 100 morale building initiatives. During his tenure, the 4th FW deployed more than 4,000 Airmen and 18 F-15E Strike Eagles, including one record-breaking deployment which saw more than 1,600 combat sorties and more than 12,700 combat flying hours. The wing also produced 180 new F-15E aircrew through the initial qualification course.
“It has been the honor and highlight of my career to get to serve with you over the last two years,” Slocum said. “The impact you all have made is nothing short of inspiring. So many people in this wing have found a way where they can do something to make the mission happen, or improve quality of life…it’s amazing. You are the one percent who protect the 99 percent who cannot or will not protect themselves. We have rock star Airmen everywhere we turn. It is my humble privilege to put on my uniform each and every day and I want to say thank you to each and every one of you and your families.”
Sage closed the ceremony with his first address as commander, stating he plans to build off the improvements made during Slocum’s command, and push Team Seymour to the next level of greatness.
“As I look around this morning, I see the faces of young Airmen who I know will rise to the challenge to fulfill whatever tasking our nation asks of us,” Sage said. “May we today embrace their spirit of determination as we courageously lead into the future.”