Florida Airmen embrace tradition and welcome change

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Rayna Padget
  • 125th Fighter Wing

U.S. Air Force Col. Robert Botkin relinquished command of the 125th Maintenance Group to U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jackson Whiting during a change of command ceremony at the 125th Fighter Wing on Sept. 9, 2018. After assuming command, Whiting addressed his new Airmen and expressed his vision for the group.

He emphasized keeping old traditions and embracing new and innovative ways to tackle the challenges that come with the ever-changing landscape of the world we live in. 

Whiting brings 18 years of leadership and experience to his new position as group commander. 

The change of command ceremony is rooted in military history.  This ceremony has been conducted since the 18th century and was started by Frederick the Great of Prussia. This custom is a symbolic passing of the unit from one commander to another and demonstrates the Airmen of the unit dedicating their loyalty and trust to their new leader. 

Botkin served within the logistics career field for 35 years and has assumed the position of director of staff for the Florida Air National Guard. U.S. Air Force Col. Paul Reedy, commander, 125th Fighter Wing, thanked Botkin for his time and exemplary service as the previous commander. 

“You have done an amazing job here and we will carry on the proud legacy you’ve left behind,” Reedy said. 

Whiting started his career in the Air Force as an active duty Airman and graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in June of 2000. He was assigned to Eglin Air Force Base as a wing life support officer before moving to Jacksonville to work as the wing scheduler and special projects officer. 

Whiting officially joined the Florida Air National Guard in 2011. He served as the chief of wing operations and inspector general. As the wing IG, Whiting led the 125th FW through its first Air Combat Command Capstone and directly contributed to the wing earning the highest grade in the ANG for 2015. 

Reedy welcomed Whiting into his new position and presented him to the troops of the maintenance group.

“125th MXG Airmen, in every role, on every day, on every mission, and in every challenge, Lt. Col. Whiting shows up, sets the tone, and sets the standard,” Reedy said. “He is absolutely an Airman’s Airman.”