435th AGOW Change of Command
U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc, 3rd Air Force commander, passes the guide-on to Col. John Shapland, as he takes command of 435th Air Ground Operations Wing, during the 435th AGOW Change of Command ceremony held on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Dec. 13, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nathan Lipscomb)
435th AGOW welcomes new commander

by Tech. Sgt. Markus M. Maier
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

12/14/2010 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- The men and women of the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing welcomed their new commander in a ceremony in Hangar 5 here Dec. 13.

Col. John Shapland accepted the command from Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc, 3rd Air Force commander, making him the second commander since the wing stood up in July 2009.

"It is a great honor to be standing here in front of you today," Colonel Shapland said. "I look forward to getting to know each of your squadrons and groups and to working with our Airmen in their mission to rapidly establish expeditionary airfield operations and communications; integrate joint fires and weather across the full spectrum of conflict; and to provide theater-wide combat support and training. I will endeavor to always take care of our Airmen in order to allow the 435th AGOW to excel in its great mission."

Though he is new to the AGOW, Colonel Shapland is not new to Ramstein. He relinquished command of the 603rd Air and Space Operations Center here earlier this month.

Born in Champaign, Illinois, the colonel entered the Air Force in 1989 as a distinguished graduate of the United States Air Force Academy where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Factors Engineering.

He spent a large part of his career as a test pilot and in Air Force Special Operations Command, logging more than 3,700 hours in more than 50 different fixed and rotary wing aircraft.

Before coming to Ramstein in 2009, he served as defense policy advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to NATO and military assistant to the Secretary of Defense Representative in Europe in Brussels, Belgium, where he advised policy makers on political-military issues relating to NATO.

Outgoing commander, Col. Thomas Gould, is moving on to be the 14th Air Force vice commander at Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

"[My wife and I] wish you all the best in your new command." Colonel Gould said. "We know you'll find the Airmen of the 435th AGOW of the highest caliber - unmatched in their quest for excellence, service and integrity. To the men and women of the 435th, thank you. It's been truly an honor to serve with you both as an Airman and as your commander."

The AGOW is one of two air ground operations wings in the Air Force and consists of more than 1,500 members among three groups and 11 squadrons with 19 geographically separated units across six installations in Germany and Italy.