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Ellsworth Air Force Base Under New Command

May 13, 2011, 6:23 PM by Austin Hoffman

Ellsworth Air Force Base Under New Command
ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, SD -  
As of Friday morning, Ellsworth Air Force base is under new command. And the new boss is no stranger to the base.

Colonel Jeffrey Taliaferro relinquished his duties as base commander to Colonel Mark Weatherington.

Twelve years ago Colonel Weatherington graduated from the Air Force Academy in Colorado. Since then he's been steadily making is way up the ranks.

Now the former pilot is going to be in charge of more the 4,000 troops right here in South Dakota.

It was more than just another ceremony for Ellsworth Air Force Base. Colonel Jeffrey Taliaferro took one last salute from his men and handed over the reigns to Colonel Mark Weatherington.

"I think the biggest thing I'm looking forward to is being back with the wing, with airmen, with you know, 5,000 people who are focused on a great mission here," Col. Weatherington said.

Col. Weatherington comes to Ellsworth from Rhode Island where he was Chief of Staff of the Air Force Fellow.

"Worked with a think tank for the Navy for the Chief of Naval Operations. And I also deployed to Al Udeid, out to Southwest Asia," Col. Weatherington said.

He has a long list of Air Force accomplishments. Some of them from the first time he was an officer at Ellsworth in the late 1990's.

"Had some great experiences here and excited to be back leading this great combat wing," Col. Weatherington said.

This isn't the first time he's filled the boots that Col. Taliaferro has left behind.

"I've had the pleasure of following his command now twice. Like I said, he sets the bar high, in some ways that really helps me out. There’s a lot of things I don't have to worry about here," Col. Weatherington said.

He said there aren't any major changes that he would want to make right away. For now it will be business as usual, keeping this country safe.

"Were doing great work out in the Middle East right now supporting this nation, supporting combat operations on the ground and we're really making a difference. And I think this wing is a difference maker for out nation and that's very exciting for me," Col. Weatherington said.

One of the biggest challenges Colonel Weatherington said he faces is the current fiscal environment in Washington.

Colonel Taliaferro will be taking an assignment at the Pentagon.

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