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Taking command coast to coast

713 Change of Command

Col. Xaviera Slocum at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, salutes Col. Jacquelyn Marty at Beale Air Force Base, California, as she assumes command of the 713th Combat Operations Squadron July 11, 2020. The ceremony was held online due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Morgan L. Brown)

713 Change of Command

Members of the 713th Combat Operations Squadron participate in a virtual change of command July 11, 2020 at Beale Air Force Base, California. The ceremony was streamed online to more than 130 people spanning the U.S. to comply with COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Morgan L. Brown)

713 Change of Command

Col. Michael A. Thomas, 610th Air Operations Group commander at March Air Reserve Base, California salutes Col. Jacquelyn Marty as she relinquishes command of the 713th Combat Operations Squadron at Beale Air Force Base, California, July 11, 2020. The ceremony was streamed online due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Morgan L. Brown)

713 Change of Command

Chief Master Sgt. Joshua Bell, 713th Combat Operations Squadron superintendent, and Staff Sgt. Courtney Lee, 9th Reconnaissance Wing protocol NCO in charge, help attendees connect to the virtual change of command ceremony July 11, 2020 at Beale Air Force Base, California. The ceremony was streamed online due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Morgan L. Brown)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, California --

Distance knows no bounds, as was exemplified by Col. Xaviera “Xavi” Slocum, Col. Jacquelyn L. “Katniss” Marty and their guests during a virtual change of command July 11, 2020.

The ceremony was streamed from four locations around the United States and viewed by more than 130 people from across the nation.

The tradition of transferring authority and responsibility from one commander to another is an important piece of military heritage. However, due to current social distancing protocols from the Center of Disease Control on COVID-19, the ceremony could not be conducted in person.

With nearly 3,000 miles between them, Marty, from Beale Air Force Base, relinquished command of the 713th Combat Operations Squadron to Slocum, at Langley AFB, Virginia.

“While we are unable to congregate in person, this venue provides an opportunity for friends and family to be here with us virtually who otherwise might not have been able to participate,” said Marty.

Col. Michael A. Thomas, 610th Air Operations Group commander presided over the ceremony from March Air Reserve Base, California.

 Thomas said, “Xavi is the right person and this is the right time for her to take command of the 713th and expand on what Katniss has accomplished.”

Family, friends and Airmen of the 713 COS, at its three geographically separated locations, Beale AFB, Shaw AFB, South Carolina and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, attended the ceremony.

The event was pulled together by resilient and flexible total force members from the 713 COS and the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Beale AFB, honoring military traditions while following current health protocols.

With social distancing in place, Slocum greeted Airmen of the 713 COS virtually as their new commander.

“To the warrior Airmen of the 713 COS, it is in our DNA to overcome adversity and to be ready to provide support during these times of instability,” said Slocum. “I am excited to join your team and serve you as your new commander.”

Marty also spoke to the unit she had been with for the past two years and greeted Slocum.

“I am humbled and forever grateful for having had the privilege of serving with you,” said Marty. “I look forward to hearing about the unit’s future success under the leadership of Col. Slocum. Welcome to our ohana.”