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Ops gets new commander

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Brig. Gen. Evan Dertien, 96th Test Wing commander, presided over the ceremony in which Col. Ryan Blake transferred command to Col. Devin Traynor.

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EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — The 96th Operations Group held a change of command ceremony here June 22.

Brig. Gen. Evan Dertien, 96th Test Wing commander, presided over the ceremony in which Col. Ryan Blake transferred command to Col. Devin Traynor.

“We are here to celebrate the achievements of a truly exceptional organization under the guidance of a great leader,” said Dertien during his opening remarks.

Dertien thanked Blake for his leadership and for adding another chapter to the 96th OG’s legacy.

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“The 96th OG will continually be asked to sharpen weapons and capabilities our nation needs to preserve national security,” Dertien said. “To do that, we need a leader that can forge a path into the future of developmental testing … Col. Traynor and his family are the perfect team for this task.”

Traynor is a familiar face around here, where he previously served as the assistant director of operations and chief of standards and evaluations for the 40th Flight Test Squadron.

“His experience and insight from previous roles will serve him well as he takes charge of the ops group here,” Dertien said.

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Traynor is a command pilot with over 3,000 flying hours in 47 different aircraft, including the F-15, F-22, F-16 and T-38. Traynor’s recent positions were the test branch chief for the Air Force’s F-35 Integration Office and then the senior service lead for the F-35 Program Office at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

As he took the lead in his first address to the organization, he conveyed a message of drive and inspiration for the Airmen in his new unit.

“To say that I am honored and humbled to lead this diverse group is an understatement,” Traynor said. “Your efforts have long ensured our Air Force warfighters are equipped with the most lethal weapons systems in the world, and I am proud to join that effort.”

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Traynor closed the ceremony by focusing on his vision for the future of the 96th OG.

“We need to focus our efforts on optimizing processes and providing timely test and evaluation results to decision-makers to continue delivering war-winning capabilities to the warfighter at the speed of relevance,” he said.

The 96th OG executes the 96th TW’s primary mission of developmental testing and evaluation of conventional munitions, command and control systems, avionics, navigation and guidance systems. The 96th OG is comprised of six squadrons and over 1,200 Airmen charged with testing weapons systems of today and tomorrow.

Story by Shelby Daniell, Team Eglin Public Affairs

PHOTO (TOP): Brig. Gen. Evan C. Dertien, 96th Test Wing commander, presents the 96th Operations Group guidon to Col. Devin Traynor during the group’s change of command ceremony June 22 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Erin Hutto)

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