Knoxville native takes charge of Air Force's Air Combat Command

HAMPTON, Va. (Gray DC) -- The obvious choice. That’s what the Air Force Chief of Staff calls the newest four-star general.

Gen. Mike Holmes took charge of Air Combat Command Friday in a "Change of Command" ceremony that dates back to the 18th Century.

Air Combat Command operates fighter, bomber, and reconnaissance aircraft. As the 27th commander of ACC, Holmes will oversee 94,000 active duty and civilian personnel. Right now, 10,000 of them are deployed and battling some of the world’s most serious threats, including ISIS.

“And now we have to think about new threats posed by global powers, peer nations, and regional powers that contest the world order and contest the way things are," said Holmes.

Holmes says one of the biggest challenges ACC faces is training time.

“We’re still engaged in war in Iraq and Syria, we’re still engaged in war in Afghanistan…and we’re trying to find the balance so we can provide that for the country, but try to make more ‘white space’ on the calendar so that units can also train against the hard threats," he said.

Holmes has served around the world, but his career started back home in Knoxville, Tenn.

“I’d like to people I was pretty much raised by the University of Tennessee from kindergarten through college," joked Holmes. "I earned an engineering degree from UT. I think that helped give me a problem-solving approach to life.”

And now, with four stars on jacket, the men and women of ACC will be looking up to Holmes to lead them in these challenging times.

After seven of the past eight years at the Pentagon, Holmes says he’s happy to be back in the “airmen world.”

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