JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska —
The 3rd Wing is scheduled to host a change-of-command ceremony at Hangar 1 on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Aug. 6, 2018.
U.S. Air Force Col. Christopher Niemi will transfer command of the wing to U.S. Air Force Col. Robert Davis.
“The privilege of commanding the Airmen of the 3rd Wing has been the highlight of my 25-year military career,” Niemi said. “I wish the very best to you, and look forward to watching you go on to even greater achievements.”
Niemi has commanded the 3rd Wing since May of 2016. He also served as the 90th Fighter Squadron director of operations from June 2007 to June 2009, and the 525th FS commander from June 2009 to 2011. He is a command pilot with more than 2,900 flight hours in the F-15E Strike Eagle, F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.
Under Niemi’s leadership, key achievements of the 3rd Wing include the advancement of future warfighting concept of operations through Arctic Ace exercises, deployment to Australia, and other Ace initiatives; improving readiness to respond to a conflict on the Korean peninsula; reducing the amount of time 3rd Wing Airmen waste on frivolous or low-priority tasks, and setting the conditions for success in the Air Force’s first-ever C-17 Globemaster III Active Association.
“Colonel Niemi endorsed the right balance of training today while keeping in focus the warfighting missions of tomorrow,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Harmon Lewis, Jr., 3rd Wing vice commander. “He knows what smart-sized risk tolerance looks like. His style of leadership is rare, and it empowered unit commanders to stop doing processes that distracted Airmen from the most important tasks at hand. He made the 3rd Wing more effective and most importantly, he left no regrets about our preparations for war.
“Under Niemi’s leadership, operators and maintainers of four distinct mission aircraft forged a diverse team of fighter, mobility, and air battle management Airmen who were not only prepared for war, but took the fight to the enemy to include the Taliban in Afghanistan and to I.S.I.L. in Iraq and Syria.”
Niemi let Airmen and their families know that their sacrifices, here in Alaska and while deployed abroad, are what fuel the combat power backing U.S. diplomacy on the Korean peninsula, throughout the Pacific theater and around the globe, Lewis said.
The 3rd Wing provides the commander of U.S. Pacific Command trained and equipped tactical air dominance forces, command and control platforms, and strategic and tactical airlift resources for contingency operations. The wing also provides the commander of U.S. Northern Command immediate early airborne detection, warning, surveillance and interception of hostile forces within the Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region.
The 3rd Wing flies the F-22, C-17, C-12F Huron and E-3 Sentry aircraft, and is responsible for more than 2,200 assigned Airmen.
Davis also has a wealth of experience in fighter aircraft, being a command pilot with more than 2,300 hours in the F-22 and F-15C Eagle.
From 2015 to 2017, Davis commanded the 325th Operations Group at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, which is responsible for training and projecting unrivaled F-22 air dominance to combatant commanders worldwide.
Davis is no stranger to JBER, having served at the installation from August of 2009 to June 2013, when he held positions such as chief of safety for the 3rd Wing, an operations officer for the 90th FS, and commander of the 525th FS.
“My family and I are excited to be back in Alaska and appreciate the warm welcome,” Davis said. “I look forward to working with JBER and community partners to execute the 3rd Wing’s mission and serve its families.”
Davis recently completed a deployment to Iraq, where he served as the director of security assistance with the Office of Security Cooperation – Iraq. In this role, he supported both Operation Inherent Resolve and long-term security cooperation efforts.
He led a 67-person joint team responsible for 232 foreign military sales cases valued at more than $15 billion. Davis also provided strategic advice to Iraqi leaders concerning the training, equipping and sustainability of future Iraqi forces.
Some of Davis’ major awards and decorations include a Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, a Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal and an Aerial Achievement Medal.