BARKSDALE AFB, LA (KSLA) - Just a few hours after being promoted as the Air Force's newest four-star general, Gen. Timothy Ray took command of Air Force Global Strike Command on Tuesday morning.
Ray and his family are no strangers to Northwest Louisiana.
This marks his fourth tour through Barksdale Air Force Base, coming from Germany, where he served as the deputy commander of U.S. European Command.
Ray said his family is excited to be back to a place they call home.
"Let me just say thanks to the local community for making it good for our families. You do learn very quickly what matters most, finding the right doctors, the right places to shop and the right kind of support when you have four kids," he said.
"My wife was very comfortable knowing right where everything is and right where folks are. And, to many degrees, it was like we've never left.
Before the ceremony at Hoban Hall, Ray received his fourth-star in a private ceremony on base.
His promotion makes him the 217th four-star general in Air Force history and one of 15 now serving today.
"To map the future of this great force is very, very humbling," Ray said, "(but) It's also a labor of love because I come back to people that I know.
"And when I looked across the audience, there's just face after face of people I've served with or worked with who have had a great deal to do with me being where I am today. So it's come full circle."
Ray takes command from Gen. Robin Rand, who retired after 44 years of service in the Air Force, including 39 as an officer.
Rand was the first four-star general in AFGSC's nine-year history to lead the command that has its headquarters at Barksdale.
In a moving farewell address, he closed with a simple message to his wife, saying "Now, Kim it's time to go home," as he wiped a tear from his eye.
Rand was given a standing ovation from everyone in attendance before receiving his final salute as AFGSC commander.