Moody AFB group gets new leader

Colonel Michael Ross (middle) assumed command of the 820 Base Defense Group from Colonel Paul Kasuda (far right) at a ceremony at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta this morning. Col. Kasuda is leaving the base after two years as group leader. / Doug Reardon

A change of command is a military tradition that represents a formal transfer of a unit's authority and responsibility from one commander to another. That is exactly what happened this morning for one distinct unit at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta.

The 820th Base Defense Group got a change in leadership today, as the torch was passed from Colonel Paul Kasuda to incoming group commander Colonel Michael Ross. Col. Kasuda will depart Moody after nearly two years of dedicated service to work at the Security Forces Center in Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Col. Kasuda has actually served at Lackland before, where he performed duties as the Officer in Charge of Law Enforcement Operations. Col. Ross is arriving from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, where he served as U.S. Air Forces Central Command director of force protection. After the ceremony, Colonel Ross expressed his excitement coming into his new role at Moody.

"I have looked forward to this job for many years, not knowing if I would ever get it," Colonel Ross said. "And a lot of times you don't get everything you want. I did today. This is exactly where I want to be. There's not another place on the planet I'd rather be today."

The 820th Base Defense Group provides first in, highly capable, Airborne/Air Assault, force protection and contingency response for expeditionary air forces anywhere, anytime, and under austere conditions. The group staff and squadrons are composed of approximately 700 people in 26 functional career fields including civil engineering, communications, intelligence, explosive ordnance disposal, transportation, personnel, supply, emergency management, biomedical services, logistics plans, and security forces. The 820th Base Defense Group is the first and only Air Force unit designed specifically to provide fully integrated defense operations.