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616 ACOMS welcomes new commander

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  • By Raquel McNees
Members from the 616th Air Communications Squadron welcomed their new commander during a change of command ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio-Kelly Field, Texas July 8.

Lt. Col. Brent Roper relinquished command to Lt. Col. Sarah Mashburn in a ceremony presided by Col. Justin Mokrovich, 616th Operations Center commander who highlighted the 616 ACOMS accomplishments while under Roper’s leadership.

“You are at the core of what the 616 does as the only information warfare operations center in the Air Force,” Mokrovich said. “You are the only information warfare weapons system in the entire Air Force currently delivering outcomes.”

As the first commander of 616 ACOMS, Roper led the squadron in executing enterprise operations for Air Force joint worldwide intelligence communications then later assumed the mission of providing information technology support for the 616 OC, 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber). In the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, he developed safe-operating procedures enabling a surge in coordination activities between Joint Force Headquarters-Cyber and three combatant commands. Under his leadership, a secure multi-lateral network was established connecting 16th Air Force with United States European Command and partner nations.

In his last address to 616 ACOMS, Roper thanked Airmen for establishing a strong foundation for the squadron and for their role in strengthening the 616 OC’s capabilities to better execute the mission.

“We look out for each other,” Roper said. “We value each other. We take advantage of our diverse backgrounds, our diverse knowledge, perspectives and skills. We know we have a valuable role to play and we lift wherever we are standing.”

“The strength of the Air Force is truly found within its people,” he added.  

He is succeeded by Mashburn who previously served as the Chief, Information Technology Compliance and Cybersecurity, for Air Education and Training Command. Mashburn emphasized the importance of 616 ACOMS and was thankful for the opportunity to lead the squadron.   

“I look forward to continuing that legacy and to continue making sure I take just as good care of the Firebird (616 ACOMS) family,” Mashburn said.

Mashburn has held various cyberspace operations positions leading Airmen in network operations, communications support to space operations, and acquisitions. As a prior Air University Fellow, she helped developed the next generation of Air Force leaders while teaching at Squadron Officer School. She will be responsible for more than 70 Airmen who provide real- world cyber capabilities for the 616 OC.

The 616 ACOMS mission is to accelerate Command and Control by providing robust and effective capabilities for the 616 OC. The 616 OC is one of the 16th Air Force’s Information Warfare warfighting units. The 16th Air Force operates globally across nine wings and one center, integrating cyberspace operations; electromagnetic spectrum operations, information operations, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; weather operations, and other related capabilities.