News | April 12, 2018

“Summer”time starts at the 13th RS

By Senior Airman Tara R. Abrahams 940th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Summer and Sunshine stood brightly onstage while rain poured outside the Valley Chapel. As Lt. Col. Karyn L. “Sunshine” Christen relinquished command of the 13th Reconnaissance Squadron April 7, Lt. Col. Summer A. Fields stepped up with a smile to fill her shoes.

Col. David S. Edwards presided over the squadron’s change of command ceremony. He is the commander of the 13th RS’ parent unit, the 726th Operations Group at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.

“The future is bright for the 13th,” he said. “Summer has been Sunshine’s tireless partner in leading the squadron and she has deep knowledge in the way things work. That’s a tremendous value in a new commander.”

Fields served as the unit’s director of operations, overseeing operations for the squadron for the past 4 1/2 years.

“She’s just going to take off one hat, which is operationally focused, and move to the people-focused side,” Edwards said. “I know she’s up to the task.”

As Fields assumed her new position, she took responsibility of the Air Force Reserve’s only squadron to operate the RQ-4 Global Hawk Remotely Piloted Aircraft. The squadron operates and maintains deployable, long-endurance RQ-4 and ground control elements to fulfill training and operational requirements generated by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in support of unified commanders and the secretary of defense.

After the guidon was passed to Fields, signifying her taking command, she spoke to the members of the 13th RS and expressed her primary focus.

“If you take care of the people, the people will take care of the mission,” Fields said. “That is [some advice] I took to heart and that’s what I plan to do.”

She also thanked Christen for her leadership.

“Thank you for your mentorship and your guidance these past three years. It’s been a big learning curve for me. You know a lot about a lot and I appreciate you passing that knowledge on to me.”

Edwards also talked about what Christen had done for the squadron in her time in charge.

“Today we are going to relieve Sunshine of the burden of command she has shouldered for three years, which is a long time for any commander” Edwards said. He mentioned she single-handedly convinced the Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. David L. Goldfein, to reevaluate the implementation of the RQ-4 Enlisted Pilot Program for the Reserve portion to align it more closely with total force integration.

Before Christen moved on to her new position as the 726th OG deputy commander, she expressed her gratitude to the squadron.

“As I look out at this team that we built, I see a family,” Christen said. “It’s been a challenging three years, but I think what’s spoken to me the most is watching each one of you step up next to our family, taking care of each other and seeing each other through. Please keep doing that. It has made me so proud to be part of this 13th RS family.”