Col. Randall Roberts assumes command of the 914 MSG at Niagara

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  • 914th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Col. Randall Roberts assumed command of the 914th Mission Support Group in a ceremony here, July 19, 2023.  Col. Joseph Contino, 914th Air Refueling Wing commander, was the presiding officer for this event.

Roberts leads the efforts of over 600 Airmen, including six squadrons, and one contracting flight.  He is also responsible for 900 acres of federal property, and his efforts ultimately support KC-135 strategic airlift and air refueling operations across the world.

He received his commission from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado in 1996.  He has served as a design civil engineer at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, and attended graduate school at the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, where he earned a Master's degree in Engineering and Environmental Management.

Roberts comes to Niagara from his previous assignment as the 442nd Mission Support Group commander at Whiteman AFB, Missouri.

The tradition of the change of command goes back to the time of the Roman Legions where the passing of the commander's baton occurred in front of the troops to signify the leader who would take them into battle.  The modern assumption of command dates back to the 18th century.  At that time, organizational flags were developed with color arrangements and symbols unique to each particular unit.  The flag served as a rallying point and reminder of their allegiance to their leader during battle.  To this flag and its commander, military members dedicated their loyalty and trust.  When a change of command took place, the flag was passed to the individual assuming command in the presence of the entire unit.  All unit members could witness their new leader assume responsibility and trust associated with the position of commander.  He who possessed the flag also held the unit members' allegiance.  The symbolic tradition has survived throughout military history.