"Fighting 5th" OWF gets new commander

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Kristen Pittman
  • 403rd Wing Public Affairs

The 5th Operational Weather Flight at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina held an assumption of command ceremony for Capt. Grant J. Talkington April 9 at the 28th Operational Weather Squadron pavilion.


In attendance were Col. Leslie Hadley, 403rd Wing vice commander, and Col. Stuart M. Rubio, 403rd Operations Group commander, who oversaw Talkington’s assumption.


The “Fighting 5th” is a geographically separated unit assigned to the Air Force Reserve 403rd Wing under the 403rd OG located at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, and it is one of only two weather flights in the Air Force Reserve.


“It can’t get much bigger than a unit whose primary mission is to support operations over half of the globe and whose secondary mission is to serve as a backup for the other half. You’d have to go to the Space Force to find more geography to cover,” said Rubio, addressing members of the 5th during to the assumption of command ceremony. “You consistently send Airmen out the door on deployments to places like the Central and Africa commands, take part in exercises in the Pacific, and support missions here in the continental U.S. I would not hesitate to say the ‘Fighting 5th’ is a small but mighty unit, and your willingness to work alongside other units in and out of the 403rd Operations Group and across the total force is commendable.”


As flight commander, Talkington will oversee the 24-person flight’s mission to support the active duty air operations centers providing weather information to all branches of the U.S. military and others in the United States Central Command area of responsibility.


“The Airman you’re getting as a commander has been leading the way from the beginning,” said Rubio. “He brings with him experience across the total force and joint realm having been assigned to an Army garrison. He brings international experience, having been overseas in South Korea, and he brings leadership as a previous flight commander, operations support squadron director of operations and the director of operations here.”


Talkington is no stranger to the weather operations at Shaw. Prior to his assumption of command, he served as the “Fighting 5th’s” director of operations, and he has served as a weather officer for the 20th Fighter Wing during his active duty time as a 1st Lt.


Talkington expressed his excitement and desire to be an empowering leader in hopes he can empower his Airmen to be the best versions of themselves in all facets of their lives.


“You all do a great job all over the globe. You’ve been doing phenomenal stuff for years through mission and personnel changes,” said Talkington. “As you all know, commanders come and go, but we’ve got some solid people here. Some of you I’ve known for 10 years; others it’s your first or second drill. I just want you all to know I’m excited for the opportunity to work with each of you and continue to make this a premier weather unit in the Air Force.”