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New leader takes command of 466 FS Diamondbacks

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  • 419th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – Lt. Col. Bart “Face” Wilbanks took command of the 466th Fighter Squadron “Diamondbacks” from Col. Benjamin “Marsa” Harrison here April 5 during the wing’s monthly Unit Training Assembly weekend.

The squadron, and 419th FW as a whole, are operating with scaled back manning due to COVID-19 concerns and is accomplishing only essential readiness training at this time. As such, the 466th FS was unable to hold a formal change of command ceremony.

Taking command during this difficult time is a challenge, but has shown how the squadron can rapidly adapt to overcome adversity, Wilbanks said.

“We will continue to accomplish the mission while ensuring we implement all safety measures and precautions to keep Airmen, their families, and all Americans safe,” he added.

“The spirit and determination in this squadron is very high as we continue to face the COVID pandemic, and we are ready and willing, at a moment’s notice, to deploy and answer our nation’s requests if called upon to do so,” he said.

Wilbanks earned his commission in May 1999 as part of the Baylor University Reserve Officer Training Corps program in Waco, Texas. He served on active duty for 10 years before joining the Air Force Reserve in 2009. He is a command pilot with more than 3,400 flying hours, including 900 hours during combat. He serves part-time as a traditional reservist, or TR, and full time as a commercial airline pilot flying the Airbus A320.

“It’s an amazing honor and privilege to represent the interests of the men and women of the 466th,” Wilbanks said. “The Diamondbacks have always been well respected throughout the history of the Air Force Reserve and I can assure you this group of individuals will proudly carry this legacy far into the future.”

Harrison had served as the 466th FS commander since June 2018. He has been a reservist with the 419th FW for 11 years and is awaiting the official announcement of his new position.

The 466th FS is the wing’s only fighter squadron and its pilots fly F-35s alongside their active duty counterparts in the 388th FW.