Okies welcome new flying squadron commander

  • Published
  • By Lauren Kelly
  • 507th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – Lt. Col. David Vera Torres succeeded Lt. Col. Matthew Biggs as the commander of the 465th Air Refueling Squadron, “Okies,” here in a change of command ceremony Feb. 3, 2024.

507th Operations Group commander, Col. Douglas Jeffrey IV, presided over the ceremony, which took place at 3 p.m. in the 507th OG auditorium.

Following the invocation led by Chaplain (Capt.) David Kilpatrick, 507th ARW chaplain, Jeffrey reflected on Biggs’ tenure as commander.

“Biggs’ leadership has been an integral part our accomplishments and our successes here,” Jeffrey said to the audience.

As Biggs addressed his airmen one final time, he reflected on challenges and successes during his tenure as commander.

“It’s been challenging but the deployments have kept it interesting,” Biggs said. “I tell my kids all the time, if you choose a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Find a job that you love.”

During the ceremony, Jeffrey presented Biggs with a meritorious service medal for distinguishing himself with outstanding service to the United States during the period of June 1, 2018, to Feb. 3, 2024.

Under Biggs’ leadership, the squadron’s effectiveness and success in operations thrived. He flew 29 combat sorties in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, enabling the swift delivery of two million pounds of fuel to 150 coalition receiver aircraft, maintaining air superiority and providing close-air support to ground troops.

Jeffrey then addressed the incoming commander prior to the change of command, referencing the Air Force priorities of readiness and transforming for the future.

“You’re going to be leading Airmen in a critical time in our nation’s history,” said Jeffrey.

Following the change of command, the 465th ARS’ new commander, Vera Torres, addressed the audience and expressed his gratitude to the Operations Group commander.

“Thank you, Col. Jeffrey, for having faith in me and allowing me to command the squadron,” Vera Torres said. “I have big shoes to fill following Col. Bigg’s time as commander. His humble approach and commitment to serving is an example to follow.”

Family and colleagues of both commanders were in attendance to show their support, leaving standing room only in the auditorium.

The following wing leadership were also in attendance: Col. Matthew Ghormley, 507th Air Refueling Wing commander, Chief Master Sgt. Darren Wiseman, 507th ARW command chief, Col. Terry Rosenbalm, 507th Maintenance Group commander, Chief Master Sgt. Mark Smith, 507th MXG senior enlisted leader, 507th MXG deputy commanders, Lt. Cols. Bradley Garcia and Melissa Jones, Lt. Col. Joseph Wilson, 507th Mission Support Group deputy commander, Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Dauphinais, 507th MSG SEL, Lt. Col. Joseph Ronzio, 507th Medical Squadron commander and Chief Master Sgt. Troy Heil, 507th MDS SEL.