WARREN AIR FORCE BASE – Col. David Kelley assumed command of 20th Air Force’s 576th Flight Test Squadron, the only U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile test launch squadron, during a change-of-command ceremony at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, June 1.
“To the men and women of the 576th Flight Test Squadron, I am incredibly proud to be your commander and promise to you my unwavering dedication to our mission and taking care of you and your families,” Kelley said. “We are the only test unit in the United States military entrusted with launching intercontinental ballistic missiles. Each and every test operation we conduct has a global impact, by providing assurance to our allies that our nation’s nuclear umbrella is viable and by providing a visible deterrent to potential adversaries.”
In support of the ‘deter and assure’ mission, the 576th FLTS determines the effectiveness and accuracy of the ICBM force by planning, preparing and conducting ICBM ground and flight tests. The test launches provide performance data and demonstrate the capability of the ICBM force. The information is shared with the Department of Energy, Department of Defense, U.S. Strategic Command, Headquarters Air Force and Air Force Global Strike Command.
Prior to assuming command of the 576th FLTS from Col. Craig Ramsey, Kelley served as the Director of Operations, 20th AF, F.E. Warren AFB.
Ramsey now heads to a position as the 91st Missile Wing vice commander, Minot AFB.
“I’ve been very proud to have witnessed all of the success of the men and women of the 576th Flight Test Squadron, and it has been my honor to represent them every day while in command,” Ramsey said. “I’d also like to acknowledge and thank the host unit’s leadership team for their constant support and making our ICBM flight feel at home over the last two years.”
TOP: Col. David Kelley accepts the 576th Flight Test Squadron flag from Maj. Gen. Anthony Cotton, 20th Air Force commander, during a change-of-command ceremony at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., June 1. In support of the ‘deter and assure’ mission, the 576th FLTS determines the effectiveness and accuracy of the ICBM force by planning, preparing and conducting ICBM ground and flight tests. (U.S. Air Force photo)