The US Air Forces Central Command (AFCENT) and Qatari Armed Forces held Thursday (July 16th) a ceremony at al-Udeid air base in Doha to pass command from Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella to Lt. Gen. Gregory Guillot.
US Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM), presided over the ceremony.
Leaders of CENTCOM, Air Combat Command, and the Qatari military took part with masks, social distancing, and remote participation because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"[Guillot] is inheriting a high-functioning command that is operating on all cylinders," McKenzie said. "I have full faith and confidence in his leadership capabilities, and I know he will continue the tradition of excellence this command has achieved."
Guillot will serve as both commander of AFCENT and commander of the combined forces air component.
He will be charged with working closely with coalition, joint and interagency partners to lead a combined force that delivers decisive air and space power, and promotes security throughout CENTCOM's 20-nation area of responsibility.
"The cornerstone of AFCENT's operational success over the years has been the unbreakable bond shared between our regional partners," Guillot said. "I assure all partners that we will remain unified in our efforts to deter adversaries and combat terrorism and extremism in order to bring lasting stability."
AFCENT is familiar territory for Guillot, as he served as both deputy commander and deputy combined forces air component commander from April 2018 to May 2019.
"The CENTCOM staff and components comprise a great war fighting team, and I am privileged to rejoin that team," he said. "I promise to be a trusted and reliable teammate as we support each other across the region."
Guastella departs AFCENT after more than two years in command. Under his leadership, AFCENT flew more than 45,000 sorties in direct support of Operation Inherent Resolve and Resolute Support as well as providing a credible deterrent force for CENTCOM.
"There are 18 airpower nations represented right here at this (Combined Air Operations Centre) that have come together to handle the threats in this theater," Guastella said.
"We are more lethal, more precise, and more capable of defending ourselves from the air than we have ever been, and it is because of the coalition," he said.