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Maintenance squadron welcomes new commander

Maj. Melissa Jones, 507th Maintenance Squadron commander, takes the guidon from Col. Travis Caughlin, 507th Maintenance Group commander May 6, 2017, during the 507th Maintenance Squadron change of command ceremony at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

Maj. Melissa Jones, 507th Maintenance Squadron commander, takes the guidon from Col. Travis Caughlin, 507th Maintenance Group commander May 6, 2017, during the 507th Maintenance Squadron change of command ceremony at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The 507th Maintenance Squadron here gained a new commander May 6, 2017, during a change of command ceremony in Hangar 1030.

The 507th Maintenance Group commander, Col. Travis Caughlin, presided over the ceremony, where Lt. Col. Erin Cook relinquished command and Maj. Melissa Jones assumed command.

“It has been a privilege and an honor to serve with you guys for the last 19 months,” Cook said, who will now move on to her next assignment at Travis Air Force Base, California. “Command is a very unique opportunity that you don’t always get. There have been some challenging people to work with, and I would like to thank them. You don’t get the opportunity to grow as a leader without overcoming some hardships.”

This is not the first time that Jones has served in a commander role, according to Caughlin. In the past as the senior ranking officer, Jones stepped up as acting commander to lead the 507th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the 507th MXS.

“When you hear the term, ‘acting commander,’ there is no such thing,” said Caughlin. “You’re either the commander or you’re not,” Caughlin said. “The great job she did as the AMXS and MXS commander made her a quick choice for our new squadron commander.”

Caughlin outlined the importance that the maintenance squadron plays in maintaining fleet health.

“In maintenance, we run two races all the time: We either run a sprint, or a marathon,” Caughlin said. “The marathon is run by the maintenance squadron.”

After taking command of the 507th, Jones shared a piece of history that she recently discovered over the past month: Her grandfather served in the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment in WWII.

“When my grandfather was in the 507th, he was shot several times,” said Jones. 

Jones addressed the current state of Reserve duty, and the possibility of more frequent deployments overseas to support contingency efforts in the area of responsibility.

“I feel very honored that I get to be a commander during this period,” Jones said. “We are going to maximize our drill time and be ready to respond.”