HILL AIR FORCE BASE — The newest leader at the state's largest military installation is bringing a "pedigree of experiences that add up to being the right guy for an air base wing commander," an Air Force general noted during a change-of-command ceremony Friday.
That message was expressed as Col. Jon Eberlan took over as commander of the 75th Air Base Wing at Hill Air Force Base. He replaces Col. Jennifer Hammerstedt, who served as air base wing commander since June 2016. She is moving to Washington, D.C., to serve in an assignment at the Pentagon.
Eberlan is remaining at Hill after nearly two years as the commander of the 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group in the Ogden Air Logistics Complex.
"When you think about, 'How do I custom-build a program to make sure there is minimal disruption between leaders?' This about as good as it gets," said Lt. Gen. Lee Levy, commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center that oversees three air base wings, including Hill Air Force Base. He said wing commanders must possess "the right talent, the right skill set and the right servant's heart — (because) leading airmen is about servant leadership, being able to take care of your airmen so they take care of the mission."
When considering candidates to take over command of the base, he said Eberlan immediately came to the top of the list due to all the qualities he possessed and displayed in every assignment he was ever given, he added.
"Jon is a well-rounded, broad logistician. He understands what it takes to generate combat power," Levy said. "Professionally, he has that pedigree of experiences that add up to being the right guy for an air base wing commander."
He reiterated that Eberlan has performed exceptionally in each of his previous assignments. As commander of the 309th, he led 2,300 personnel in delivering depot repair, overhaul, modification and maintenance support to major weapon systems, including the C-130, F-16, F-22, T-38, F-35 and A-10 aircraft. The group also provides on-request depot field team support and is responsible for U.S. Air Force worldwide aircraft battle damage repair.
As Hill’s installation commander, Eberlan will be responsible for the Air Force's second-largest base by population and size, overseeing 1 million acres and more than 1,300 facilities valued at $6.5 billion while providing installation support for Ogden Air Logistics Complex, Life Cycle Management Center, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center ICBM Systems Directorate, 388th and 419th Fighter Wings and over 50 other associate units totaling more than 25,000 personnel. The 75th Air Base Wing also has base support responsibility for the operation of the 1,490-square-mile Utah Test and Training Range.
Eberlan enlisted in the Air Force in 1990 and earned his commission as an officer in August 1998. He has served as a squadron commander, squadron operations officer and flight commander as well as performing staff duties at the major command, Air Staff, and joint levels.
He said assuming command of the 75th Air Base Wing will be challenging, but he is excited about the opportunity to lead in the base's mission of increasing readiness and combat capability for the Air Force.
"Command is an honor in the Air Force that everyone doesn't get afforded," Eberlan said. "Upon reflection, it's a responsibility that any leader really enjoys."Comment on this story
A native of Jasper, Texas, a small town located in the easternmost part of the state, he said having grown up there taught him the importance of personal accountability because in small towns, people are always watching how you behave and comport yourself. As for the goals in his new position, Eberlan said the objective is always to further the Air Force's ethos of military preparedness.
"(To) improve our level of readiness across the Department of Defense and increase combat capability," he said. "At the end of the day, it's all about the mission and all about getting the job done. You want to get better, better and better at that."