Colonel Wayne Blanchette took the reins today as Air Force Element Commander, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB), District of Columbia, succeeding Colonel Kendall D. Peters. Colonel Blanchette also serves as Vice Commander of JBAB.
On this day, as JBAB welcomes its new Air Force Element Commander, otherwise known as “AFELM,” this ceremony is a representation of hundreds of “AFELMs” globally, and all fall under the Air Force District of Washington.
For those AFELMS worldwide, the AFDW commander exercises Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and General Court-Martial Convening Authority over Airmen who are not assigned to a major command, and/or are not on an Air Force installation.
AFDW is responsible for the global accountability of approximately 32,000-40,000 Airmen and Civilian Airmen at all times. This includes handling personnel accountability during or following disasters and emergencies and taking care of all administrative support for those personnel, including but not limited to: financial services, travel orders, deployment support, airmen professional development, awards, decorations, promotions, assignments and more.
While AFDW’s mission is global, JBAB’s 1,400 military and civilian employees are responsible for providing joint installation support to over 17,000 military and civilian employees and their families throughout the National Capital Region. This responsibility includes engineering, information technology, logistics, personnel, procurement, security and morale, welfare and recreation services. The 1,018 acre Joint Base is home to 48 mission and tenant units, including the United States Air Force Honor Guard and Band, the Navy Ceremonial Guard, the Defense Intelligence Agency and White House Communications Agency.
“The scope of JBAB’s critically important mission is remarkable but not widely understood or recognized,” said Maj. Gen. Darryl W. Burke, AFDW Commander. “It is also a microcosm of the global responsibilities of AFDW and just how massive and far-reaching our mission set is.”
Burke used a snapshot of JBAB’s operations during Peters’ tenure to illustrate this point. Over the past two years JBAB ensured the safety and transfer of over 500 U.S. and international distinguished visitors, and provided “unrivaled mission support” during two State of the Union Addresses, 59 Heads of State visits and three Presidential missions. Burke said this dedication to excellence resulted in JBAB winning the Navy District of Washington’s 2016 Commander-In-Chief’s Installation Excellence Award.
Blanchette’s experience as a leader in numerous Air Force and Joint leadership positions has definitely prepared him for his new role as Commander of the Air Force Element and Vice Commander of Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, said Burke.
“I have no doubt you are the perfect leader to command the AF Element through the challenges that may still arise in this organization,” he said. “I know you will take this organization to even greater heights.”
Burke also highlighted the unique relationship between AFDW and JBAB and recognized the JBAB team for its accomplishments.
“I would be remiss if I did not thank Captain Mays and Team JBAB, who graciously hosts our Air Force Honor Guard and our Air Force Band and supports AFDW in a variety of other ways,” Burke said. “As I stated earlier, JBAB won the Navy District of Washington’s 2016 Commander-In-Chief’s Installation Excellence Award and that recognition was well deserved for the world class team here … Bravo Zulu, Team JBAB!”