WARNER ROBINS -- The 689th Combat Communications Wing’s new commander is challenging his airmen to venture further than ever as they “step out into the wild blue of cyberspace.”
Col. Joseph H. Scherrer assumed command of the wing from Col. Theresa Giorlando on Wednesday during ceremonies at the Museum of Aviation.
Giorlando, who has been commander since the wing’s inception in 2009, also retired from her 27-year Air Force career.
Headquartered at Robins Air Force Base, the 689th is the Air Force’s first combat communications wing. Its units include Robins’s 5th Combat Communications Group and the 3rd Combat Communications Group at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.
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The ceremony was streamed live to members of the 3rd CCG in Oklahoma.
“It’s beyond exciting to take over the 689th,” Scherrer said. “Col. Giorlando has taken the wing to great heights, making it the first to ever get a Meritorious Unit Award in its first year. I have something to step up to. ”
Since 2009, Scherrer has commanded the 75th Missions Support Group at Utah’s Hill Air Force Base, home of the Ogden Air Logistics Center. He said returning to the field of communications, information and cyberspace was like “coming home.”
Scherrer said the 689th takes modern computer technologies and access, along with traditional communications, to wherever they are needed in the world, including warfronts and natural disasters.
He said it provides combat communications, air traffic control and landing systems capabilities in the U.S. and for expeditionary forces abroad.
Once established, Scherrer said it is the 689th’s job to take up arms and protect the physical equipment as well as keep cyberspace protected.
“Cyberspace is so big, and it’s under constant attack,” Scherrer said. “Those on the offense have the advantage. Those on the defense have the harder job. I’m honored to serve with our cyberspace operators to fight and win in cyberspace.”
Scherrer now leads a total-service wartime capability of more than $600 million dollars worth of equipment and 50 Air Force units comprised of 1,500 active duty airmen and 4,500 Air Reserve and Air National Guard Airmen, according to Air Force documents.
Scherrer’s background is as an engineer and communications, information and cyberspace officer. He has commanded three communications squadrons and served in various engineering, fixed communications, tactical communications and staff assignments, including the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.
While assigned to the Joint Staff, Scherrer led a team that produced the first “National Military Strategy for Cyberspace Operations.” That document forms the foundation of U.S. military cyberspace policy and defense.
Scherrer also co-authored “A Cyberspace Command and Control Model,” which challenges traditional military command and control systems as they relate to cyberspace, encouraging instead a hybrid system that allows for a faster, more flexible system to react to threats.
A Missouri native, Scherrer is married to the former Dina Leite Moraes of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The change of command ceremony was conducted by Maj. Gen. Suzanne Vautrinot, Commander of the 24th Air Force, which encompasses the 689th.