75 EFS change of command: a history perspective

  • Published
  • By Mark “Radio” Godwin
  • 75th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron historian

As we enter the hot days of summer, change of command season has been in full swing at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.  On June 5, 2023, the 380th Air Expedition Wing witnessed the wing guidon change hands from Brig. Gen. David Lopez to Col. Terence Taylor. 

During all U.S. Air Force change of command ceremonies, the narrator gives a history lesson on the military tradition dating back to the time of Frederick the Great of Prussia.  The narrator states, “The formal change of command ceremony afforded these troops the opportunity to witness a new leader assuming their dutiful position.”

With the change of hands to the new commander, do they feel the weight of lineage and honors of those commanders who have gone before?

On June 15, 2023, Lt. Col. E. Aaron “Nooner” Brady passed the 75th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron “Tiger Sharks” guidon to Lt. Col. Gregory “DATT” Guy at Al Dhafra Air Base. 

The Tiger Sharks have a long history dating back to its activation on July 4, 1942, at Hengyang, China during World War II.  On that day, Claire Chennault’s famous American Volunteer Group “Flying Tigers” disbanded to activate the 23d Fighter Group.  Col. Robert L. Scott, Jr assumed command of the 23d FG and handed the 75th Fighter Squadron guidon to Major David “Tex” Hill, the first commander of the 75th FS. 

Throughout World War II, the 75th FS guidon would change hands nine times.  The shortest tenor of command would be Maj. Donald L. Quigley, who took command in July 1944.  Major Quigley earned the title of Fighter Ace after shooting down his 4th and 5th Japanese aircraft while he was the commander of the 75th.  But on August 10, 1944, he was shot down and captured by the enemy. He spent the next 13 months as a Prisoner of War and became a member of the Diddle Dozen, a group highly politicized by Imperial Japan. Major Don Quigley passed away on March 13, 2021, as the last Flying Tiger to serve in World War II.

61 years later on June 8, 2003, Lt. Col. Raymond “Donk” Strasburger took command of the 75th FS in theater during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. After the change of command, Lt. Col. Strasburger talked about receiving congratulatory emails from past 75th FS commanders.  But the email that stood out the most came from retired Brig. Gen. “Tex” Hill, who congratulated him on taking command of his Tiger Sharks. 

20 years later, on June 15, 2023, Lt. Col. Aaron Brady relinquished command of the 75th EFS, and Col. Terence Taylor, 380th AEW commander passed the guidon to Lt. Col. Gregory Guy. Lt. Col. Guy became the 60th Tiger Shark commander and the first to assume command of the 75th FS in theater in 20 years.  ATTACK!