AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy --
Brig. Gen. Jason E. Bailey took command of the 31st Fighter Wing from Brig. Gen. Daniel T. Lasica during a change of command ceremony, June 5, 2020 at Aviano Air Base, Italy.
Maj. Gen. John M. Wood, 3rd Air Force commander, presided over the change of command that was conducted both in person and virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The unique ceremony required the new wing commander to be in quarantine at the time it was conducted, and was accomplished by recording the two different locations at the same time and connecting them through a video communication application.
A typical change of command ceremony involves bringing the Airmen of the wing together in one place to watch as the new commander takes over command and the old commander bids farewell. However, this particular ceremony could be viewed online by people around the world, allowing for social distancing protocol to be followed.
Wood provided opening remarks on the history of the 31st Fighter Wing, Lasica’s commitment to the wing’s mission and his confidence in Bailey’s leadership as the new commander.
“[Brig. Gen. Lasica] has always highlighted the people around him and he has made a difference,” said Wood.
Wood expressed his assurance in Bailey’s leadership in his new role here as the leader of Wyvern Nation. “[Bailey] is the right leader at the right time,” said Wood. “I know you’re up to the challenge.”
After his speech, Wood decorated Lasica for his remarkable service as the wing commander and opened the floor for Lasica’s remarks.
“The Legion of Merit is presented for exceptionally meritorious service and you’ve done that for our nation,” said Wood. “It has been my honor to serve with you.”
The award was presented while following social distancing protocol. Instead of being physically given to Lasica by Wood, it was displayed on a table for viewers to see.
Lasica thanked his family, friends, Airmen, leadership team and Italian partners.
“Today’s about the 31st Fighter Wing – the mission, our Airmen and our families,” said Lasica.
“Together we were awesome teammates and great friends. Thank you for everything. Return With Honor.”
After Lasica’s farewell and relinquishment of command, Bailey saluted Wood and assumed command of the 31st Fighter Wing.
Bailey, who was the commander of the 31st Operations Support Squadron from 2011 to 2013, recognized our Italian partners, the leadership team, Airmen, and those friends and family members that could not be in attendance of the ceremony.
“I am truly excited to be a part of this team,” said Bailey. “It’s amazing to be back. I am confident that we will be successful and we will do so together.”