POPE ARMY AIRFIELD, N.C. — “Sir, I assume command.”
With these words Maj. Randy Harvey took command of the 21st Special Tactics Squadron from Lt. Col. Stewart Parker during a change-of-command ceremony here June 20.
Airmen of the 21st STS joined leaders of their parent unit — the 720th Special Tactics Group at Hurlburt Field, Florida — and other Air Force leaders from Pope Field to welcome Harvey, who comes to Pope as a recent graduate of the Air University Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
Col. Spencer Cocanour, 720th STG commander, presided over the ceremony in the Airmen’s Center here. He praised Parker for his leadership of the unit since 2015, and wished him well as he and his family depart Pope Field for an assignment at the Pentagon. Cocanour — himself a prior 21st STS commander — also thanked the Airmen of the unit for their efforts throughout Parker’s command, and welcomed Harvey and his family as the new leaders of the squadron.
“You’re a proven leader and the 21st STS is in great hands,” the colonel said to Harvey. “If (Parker) hit the ground running when he took command of the 21, you’re taking it with a full-on sprint … you are ready for this command, and I have the utmost confidence in your ability to lead this unit to the next level. You and your wife are an amazing team, and the 21 is lucky to have you.”
Harvey, who has been selected for promotion to lieutenant colonel, entered the Air Force in 2003 after graduating from Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia. He initially served as an aircraft maintenance officer and was later selected to become a special tactics officer, completing his special tactics training in 2011.
He previously served as a special tactics flight commander in the 320th STS at Kadena Air Base, Japan, and as the director of operations for the 23rd STS at Hurlburt Field, before attending the Air University.
After accepting the unit guidon and assuming command, Harvey thanked Cocanour for his trust in naming him as the new commander of the 21st STS, and fellow Air Force leaders at Pope for their support of him and the squadron. He also thanked Parker for his leadership of the unit for the last two years, and went on to honor his own family for their persistent support and sacrifice throughout his career.
Then he turned his attention to the Airmen of his new squadron. His comments were short and to the point, highlighting his purpose as the unit’s commander.
“To the men and women of the 21, it’s my honor to be here,” Harvey said. “It’s my privilege to work for you — my job is to work for you — and I plan on doing that.”