WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - The command changed hands at the 78th Air Base Wing on Friday.
After two years of service, Colonel Mitchel Butikofer handed over the flag to Colonel Christopher Hill. The change of command ceremony is one of the oldest military traditions representing the transition from one leader to a new one. As Hill was handed the flag, he was handed new responsibilities; he will now lead 4,000 people in the day-to-day operations at Robins Air Force Base.
"My objective in the first 90 days is to listen, learn, lead," Hill said, "a change of command is not a change of mission."
With budget cuts bearing down on the base, the new leader's day of celebration was clouded with uncertainty.
"The Department of Defense, the Air Force and Robins Air force Base all have tough choices ahead," Hill said, "and one of the direct results of that is civilian furloughs."
As a result of federal budget cuts, civilian workers are facing up to 11 furlough days. Its threat, Hill said he's prepared to face.
"I look forward to learning how we will continue to bridge the gaps between resources and requirements as we move forward in the time of uncertain budget climates," he said.
Hill moves from his position at deputy commander for maintenance at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex. He has over 20 years of military experience. Butikofer is headed to the Pentagon.