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News | July 26, 2023

1st Air Force, Detachment 3, welcomes new commander


1st Air Force, Detachment 3, based at Patrick Space Force Base, Florida, held a change of command ceremony on July 20th, 2023.

An age-old tradition of passing of flags, or colors, symbolized the change in leadership as Lt. Col. Nick Pettit, formally the Detachment 3 Director of Operations, assumed command from Lt. Col. Richard Bolton. Lt. Gen. Nordhaus, commander of the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Region – First Air Force (Air Forces Northern and Air Forces Space) presided over the ceremony.

 Nordhaus praised Bolton’s time leading Detachment 3, remarking that he was “absolutely the right leader, at the right place, at the right time.”

Under Bolton, Detachment 3 coordinated DoD nominal recovery and contingency rescue support for NASA’s Artemis I and the Commercial Program’s Crew 3, 4, 5, and 6 missions.

Detachment 3 coordinates Department of Defense support for NASA’s Artemis, Commercial Crew, and Soyuz programs and trains and prepares DoD forces to support NASA’s crewed space programs.  For crewed flights with NASA astronauts, Detachment 3 postures alert rescue forces at Patrick Space Force Base in Florida, Joint Base Charleston in South Carolina, and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii to respond to a NASA contingency.

Nordhaus welcomed the incoming commander, Lt. Col. Pettit. “I am confident that you are the most qualified and absolutely the right leader to build upon the efforts of your predecessor and take this incredible organization to new heights,” said Nordhaus.

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