CHEYENNE – During an at-times emotional ceremony Friday, a new leader took command of the 90th Missile Wing stationed at F.E. Warren Air Force Base.
Col. Stacy Huser handed over leadership of the base and its nuclear arsenal after two years to Col. Peter M. Bonetti, who assumed his role during a full military change of command ceremony Friday morning at the base.
Bonetti comes to F.E. Warren from his most recent post as vice commander of the 341st Missile Wing, stationed at the Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.
During his introductory speech to the assembled airmen and women of the 90th, Bonetti said he looked to build off the amazing work done by his predecessors. He promised to help focus his attention on the needs of those under his command, part of an ever-growing family that is created by shared military service.
“I’m a very fortunate man. But in a way, every person here in the mighty 90 is. We all have loved ones, close friends, our bedrocks that have formed our foundations of our personalities and, in fact, our whole beings,” Bonetti said. “But the military has shown me that a family isn’t just blood. At every location, we gain more family, more people who accept us as we are and more people who depend on us.
“Together, we will continue to be the crown jewel of the nuclear missile community and prove this every day with hard work and focus. For this sacrifice, I’m eternally grateful to you.”
In a press conference after the ceremony, Bonetti said he and his family looked forward to being back in Cheyenne. His wife, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Natalie Bonetti, had been stationed in Cheyenne for several years when she was in the service, and the family still has plenty of friends in the city.
He said Cheyenne is one of the most welcoming communities to the military, and he expressed both a deep appreciation for that trust and love as well as a desire to continue to earn that trust and respect from the community through his actions.
Given the stature of the 90th Missile Wing, Bonetti said he would focus on maintaining the high standard already existing on the base and on finding ways to improve operations as they continue their mission.
“There are many great things happening already, and we’ve laid groundwork to continue with those new improvements and build on those improvements to continue to bring us a secure, safe and lethal weapon system that’s ready every minute of every day for our community,” Bonetti said. “This is an incredible weapons system. But the procedures and processes around it can always be improved. So we look forward to seeing this improvement in the near future as well as in the next decade.”
In her brief remarks as her command of the 90th ended, Huser thanked the men and women of the 90th Missile Wing for their service and allowing her to be their commander for the past two years.
“To Col. Bonetti and Natalie, you both are the exact right team that this wing needs. I truly believe everything worked out for a reason, and that you are the leader we need here at the 90th. You two are going to take the wing to the next level,” she said during her speech. “To the men and women of the 90th Missile Wing and your beautiful families, it has been a real honor. You’re incredible leaders, and you’re selfless airmen. Thank you for letting (my husband) and I be a small part of your lives.”
Huser is headed to a command position with the United States Strategic Command, headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.
Both the new and former commander of the 90th Wing were praised by Maj. Gen. Ferdinand “Fred” Stoss as two examples of the best the U.S. Air Force has to offer. He said the two were destined to rise to the ranks of general in the coming years.
When it came to Huser, Stoss said she was a compassionate leader who helped foster innovation in the 90th Missile Wing and was respected by her fellow airmen and women, no matter their rank.
“(Huser) has so many attributes. First off, she’s just so inspirational. Those of us who know her well, she’s able to take a group of people and motivate them in ways I’ve never seen before. People want to be near (Huser), people want to be inspired by (Huser), and that’s why they come to her,” Stoss said. “I foresee stars falling on (Huser’s) shoulders in about a year from now. And then years after that, I see many stars falling on her shoulders.”
Stoss said Bonetti was on the same path as Huser and has proven this since enlisting in the mid-1980s by showing that he is both a dedicated airman and a talented leader.
“When you look at (Bonetti’s) record, he simply has a pedigree for this assignment. (Bonetti) has been there and done that,” Stoss said. “The selection for Wing Command is the most screened and careful process we do in the Air Force. It is never a dartboard (guess). People are developed over many, many years for this job and (Bonetti) is at that point.
“Pete is from the same pedigree (as Huser). I see Pete graduating as the Wing Commander and moving very much in the same direction.”