Lt. Gen. Gregory M. Guillot received his third star and took over as commander of Air Forces Central Command during a July 16 ceremony at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.
Guillot, previously the director of operations for U.S. Northern Command, took over for Lt. Gen. Joseph T. Guastella Jr., who has led the command since August 2018. Guastella, who has been tapped to be USAF’s next deputy chief of staff for operations at the Pentagon, was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal for “superior service in a position of significant responsibility” during the ceremony.
“Gus, you’ve answered every call, you faced every challenge, and you’ve achieved every mission I gave you. You are a great teammate, and a brother in arms to all your commanders, and I know they’re out there with us virtually right now,” U.S. Central Command boss Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. said during the ceremony. “You were an advocate of airpower, but never a blind zealot. You challenged me in the very best of ways, and in the end, when it was time to focus on execution, you did it to perfection.”
As AFCENT boss, Guillot will also serve as the commander of the Ninth Air Expeditionary Task Force and combined forces air component commander for U.S. Central Command, overseeing air operations in both Operation Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel.
The command assignment is a return to the Middle East for Guillot, who has previously served as AFCENT’s deputy commander. His background is as an air battle manager, and he has commanded the 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., and the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.
“Guillot, your promotion and selection for this command is a tangible demonstration of the faith and confidence that your force has in you,” McKenzie said. “We’re going to go forward, and it’s going to continue to be a dynamic and a challenging environment. You’re inheriting a high-functioning command that is running on all cylinders. I have full faith and confidence in your leadership and capabilities. And I know you will continue the tradition of excellence that this command has achieved.”
Guillot took command in a ceremony at the Qatari base, with leaders of U.S. Central Command, Air Combat Command, and the Qatari military taking part with masks, social distancing, and remote participation because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
News Editor Amy McCullough contributed to this report.