'This is a dream job': Eglin test pilot returns to take command of 96th Test Wing

Special to the Northwest Florida Daily News/USA TODAY NETWORK

EGLIN AFB– The 96th Test Wing welcomed its new commander during a change of command ceremony Thursday.

Brig. Gen. Scott Cain passed the guidon to the wing’s new leader, Brig. Gen. Jeff Geraghty. The wing also bid farewell to Cain, who leaves for Ohio and the Air Force Materiel Command.

Brig. Gen. Jeff Geraghty speaks to the audience during the 96th Test Wing change of command ceremony Thursday at Eglin Air Force Base. This is Geraghty's second assignment at Eglin. He was a test pilot and flight commander with the 40th Flight Test Squadron from 2007-2009.

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The presiding officer and former 96th TW commander Maj. Gen. Evan Dertien, Air Force Test Center commander, spoke about the diversity and complexity of the wing’s missions before speaking about its new leader.

Brig. Gen. Jeff Geraghty took command of the 96th Test Wing during a ceremony Thursday at Eglin Air Force Base.

“You are ready, and I have full confidence you will continue the legacy of the 96th TW,” Dertien said. “The test wing’s motto is, ‘It’s always the hour.’ Today that remains truer than ever as we continue to sharpen our nation’s sword and shield and prepare for its future endeavors.”

A senior pilot with more than 1,750 flight hours, Geraghty is no stranger to the 96th TW’s mission. The 24-year veteran was both an F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon test pilot as well as a flight commander within the 40th Flight Test Squadron at Eglin.

“This is a dream job,” Geraghty said. “It’s a great honor to return to Eglin Air Force Base 15 years after our first assignment here. I look forward to serving you in the various missions you perform. I will look to empower and learn from you as well as work and thrive with you.”

Geraghty received his commission from the Air Force Academy in 1997. His career accomplishments include becoming a Secretary of Defense Corporate Fellow at Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and piloting an F-15 during Operations Northern Watch, Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.

The new general, frocked to the new rank just before the change of command ceremony, comes to Eglin after serving as the Arnold Engineering Development Complex commander.