Clark takes command of 3rd Air Force

Lt. Gen. Timothy M. Ray, outgoing 3rd Air Force commander, gives a speech during a change of command ceremony at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 21, 2016. Ray relinquished command of the 3rd Air Force to Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

Lt. Gen. Timothy M. Ray, outgoing 3rd Air Force commander, gives a speech during a change of command ceremony at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 21, 2016. Ray relinquished command of the 3rd Air Force to Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

Ramstein Airmen render a salute during the 3rd Air Force change of command at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 21, 2016. Members of the 3rd Air Force bade farewell to Lt. Gen. Ray as they welcomed Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

Ramstein Airmen render a salute during the 3rd Air Force change of command at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 21, 2016. Members of the 3rd Air Force bade farewell to Lt. Gen. Ray as they welcomed Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark, 3rd Air Force commander, gives a speech during a change of command ceremony at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 21, 2016. The 3rd Air Force plans, deploys, sustains and redeploys Air Force forces that directly support the combatant commanders during contingency and wartime operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark, 3rd Air Force commander, gives a speech during a change of command ceremony at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 21, 2016. The 3rd Air Force plans, deploys, sustains and redeploys Air Force forces that directly support the combatant commanders during contingency and wartime operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

The U.S. Air Forces in Europe band plays the American national anthem during the 3rd Air Force change of command ceremony at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 21, 2016. Lt. Gen. Timothy M. Ray relinquished command of the 3rd Air Force to Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

The U.S. Air Forces in Europe band plays the American national anthem during the 3rd Air Force change of command ceremony at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 21, 2016. Lt. Gen. Timothy M. Ray relinquished command of the 3rd Air Force to Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

Gen. Tod D. Wolters, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, passes the guidon to Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark, 3rd Air Force commander, during a change of command ceremony at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 21, 2016. The passing of the guidon symbolizes the transfer of command. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

Gen. Tod D. Wolters, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, passes the guidon to Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark, 3rd Air Force commander, during a change of command ceremony at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 21, 2016. The passing of the guidon symbolizes the transfer of command. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark took command of the 3rd Air Force from Lt. Gen. Timothy M. Ray during a ceremony here Oct. 21.

Ray, who will continue to serve as the U.S. European Command deputy commander, expressed his gratitude to the Airmen of the command prior to his departure.

“I don’t have the words, it is so humbling to see what you do every day, I just want to say thank you. We asked so much of you…and that’s exactly what we got and then some,’’ stated Ray.

“Thank you for what you do, your sacrifice, your leadership and certainly, thank you to your families.”

Before passing the guidon, signifying the official change of command, Ray also provided a few words of advice to the Airmen.

“It’s not about being perfect, but it is about serving selflessly on a team of innovative warriors that absolutely refuse to lose. Remember your commander’s intent: fly, fight and win.”

The ceremony’s presiding official, Gen. Tod Wolters, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa and Allied Air Command commander, referred to Ray as the finest numbered Air Force commander with a remarkable command accomplishment who will be sorely missed.

Wolters stated his equally high expectations of Clark.

“If the incoming commander is not better than the previous, we will not make a change, and the arrival of Lt. Gen. Clark signifies the success in that process. A year from now…when we have a ceremony like this and talk about the accomplishments of Lt. Gen. Clark, the promise is this; he will be the finest NAF commander this United States Air Force has ever seen.”

As 3rd AF commander, Clark is responsible for commanding its headquarters, the 603rd Air and Space Operations Center, nine wings and one expeditionary wing. In total, the force consists of nearly 35,000 personnel whose mission is to prepare and employ ready airpower in direct support to combatant commanders during contingency and wartime operations.

“You are amazing Airmen on this warfighting team. You are able to project global power and you’ve been doing so since 1940, but there is no more important time in our history than right now,” said Clark.

Clark highlighted the three priorities he will focus on during his term to continue to command’s success: mission, airmen and families.

Additionally, Clark will simultaneously serve as the Kaiserslautern Military Community commander, representing the largest community of Americans living outside of the continental United States and responsible for strengthening the relationship with our German hosts.

“I have heard amazing things about the military community in Germany and I look forward to working closely with you,” he relayed to attending host nation guests.

Clark concluded his speech by highlighting his enthusiasm to be a part of the 3rd Air Force.

“You continue to deliver the world’s finest airpower through it all, at the right place, at the right time, day after day in support of freedom and liberty across this globe. I look forward to joining this team.”