TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Lt. Col. James T. Couch took command of 10th Flight Test Squadron here June 28, 2019.
About 100 people attended a change of command ceremony at the Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul facility, located on the south east site of Tinker Air Force Base, to witness Couch assume command of the squadron from Lt. Col. Jon. D. Cary. The backdrop for the ceremony was a massive B-1B Lancer undergoing maintenance.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead you all,” Couch said to members of the 10th FLTS, senior leaders from across the Tinker enterprise and special guests. “We’re going to do some fantastic things and build on the amazing job Cary has done.”
The 10th FLTS performs pre-flight checks on various aircraft, including the Boeing B-1B Lancer, Boeing B-52H Stratofortress and Boeing KC-135 Stratolifter – something Couch is familiar with – previously working in several positions within the squadron, such as B-1B flight commander, chief of standardization and evaluation, chief of training and more recently, direction of operations where he oversaw a $1.9 billion Programmed Depot Maintenance program.
Before joining the 10th FLTS in 2007, Couch deployed to support Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, flying 17 combat sorties and delivering countless joint direct attack munitions, in an effort to neutralize militant attacks.
Col. Christopher M. Zidek, commander of the 413th Flight Test Group, who acted as the presiding official for the ceremony, said [Friday] was a day full of emotion.
“Today is a special day for several reasons,” he said. “It represents change. Every time we see a great leader leave, we see an equally great leader walk in. The success of this squadron is testament to Cary’s leadership and it will continue with Couch.”
Couch explained how the day came to be.
“Col. Zidek called me while I was on leave and offered me the position. He told me to think about it and get back to him the next day,” Couch said. “I didn’t need that long. I told him right then, ‘I’m your man.’ There was no hesitation.”
Cary told his crew during his last opportunity to address them that they are in good hands with Couch. Cary has served with the 10th FLTS since 2008.
“I’m going to miss all of you without a doubt,” Cary said. “I’m confident that you all will continue to do great things with Couch.”