Air Force Featured Stories

Bauernfeind new leader of air commandos

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Cassandra Saphore
  • Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind assumed command of Air Force Special Operations Command during a ceremony in the Freedom Hangar at Hurlburt Field Dec. 9.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. presided over the ceremony where Bauernfeind took the guidon from Lt. Gen. Jim Slife, who will go on to serve as the deputy chief of staff, operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force at the Pentagon.

During his tenure, Slife led the command to become a pathfinding force paving the way in key initiatives such as palletized effects, employing Mission Sustainment Teams and steering resources to armed overwatch. He also implemented a force generation process that achieved the intent of the Secretary of Defense, and more importantly, provided deployment predictability for the Airmen of the command.


"I'm proud to mark your transition to lead [AFSOC] at this strategic inflection point in our nation's history," Brown said. "I'm confident Tony's leadership will ensure we are ready to compete and win. Tony, in every role, you've led our joint force and Airmen to unprecedented success. You value insights that push the boundaries of the possible. I'm excited for you to have this opportunity to pour your immense talent and dedication into the Air Force Special Operations Command."

Bauernfeind earned his commission in 1991 from the U.S. Air Force Academy and his wings in 1992 as an MC-130E pilot. He has held multiple assignments throughout the special operations community prior to becoming the AFSOC commander, including the 1st Special Operations Group commander and the 27th Special Operations Wing commander.

Also present at the ceremony was U.S. Army Gen. Bryan P. Fenton, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command. Fenton spoke about Bauernfeind’s leadership abilities.

"As you've done in your previous positions, you get after it every single day with the tenacity to take care of, get more of and guard our most precious capability: people," Fenton said. "You did that in an incredible fashion like you've done in every job we've known you to be a part of. You've got an incredible resume, which is exactly why you should lead this command."

AFSOC's mission is to present combat-ready forces to conduct and support global special operations missions. The command consists of highly trained, rapidly deployable Airmen, conducting global special operations missions ranging from precision application of firepower to infiltration, exfiltration, resupply and refueling of special operations forces' operational elements.

Before passing the torch, Slife offered a few words to Bauernfeind.

“Tony, I see the journey behind, you see the journey ahead and that’s exactly the way it should be,” Slife said. “I only hope that you’re 1,260 days are as rewarding as ours have been. To the men and women of AFSOC, it’s been the honor of a lifetime to serve with you. Thank you all very much.”

Bauernfeind inherits a command with approximately 22,000 total force and civilian air commandos worldwide. He is now the 13th AFSOC commander.

“Chief Master Sgt. Olson and I are excited to work with the AFSOC communities around the globe in the months ahead to sustain and improve the quality of life for our air commandos and their families,” Bauernfeind said. “I’m proud of your accomplishments, but I’m more impressed by your outstanding professionalism and innovative spirit. I’m deeply humbled to take command of this great organization.”