MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, SC -- Colonel Harmon A. Stockwell relinquished command of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort to Col. Robert Lanham, during a change-of-command ceremony at the Fightertown parade field, Aug. 25.
Along with passing the torch during the ceremony, Stockwell retired after 34 years of military service.
“Without a doubt, this has been the high-point of my career,” Stockwell said. “I have had great people working for me. Even the community has been great.”
Lanham will serve as the Air Station’s 26th commanding officer and takes charge of more than 4,000 Marines, Sailors and civilians who live and work aboard Fightertown.
“I’m fortunate that I don’t come into a situation that needs a turnaround, a facelift or a new direction,” Lanham said. “ A challenge for us is to maintain the high standards that have already been set and to keep those standards high.”
The Indianapolis, Ind., native has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Indiana University.
After working as a stockbroker and completing an Master of Business Administration, he attended Marine Corps Officer Candidate School. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in August 1982.
Upon completion of flight school and training in the A-6 Intruder, Lanham reported to Beaufort for his first duty aboard the Air Station. As a first lieutenant, Lanham reported to Marine All- Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 332.
While Lanham was a Moonlighter, he completed two Western Pacific deployments and graduated from Weapons and Tactics Instructor School.
In January 1989, Lanham reported to Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas, to serve as a flight instructor. Later, he would return to serve with the Moonlighters.
Lanham transitioned to the F/A-18 Hornet in 1992 and then reported for duty with the Hawks of VMFA(AW)-533. While with the Hawks, Lanham deployed twice to Aviano, Italy, in support of United Nations contingency and combat operations.
Upon graduating from resident school, Lanham reported to his next duty station. His assignment was with the Joint Staff Operations Directorate in the Pentagon where he developed policy, plans and requirements for the Global Command and Control System.
After two years in the Pentagon, Lanham went to serve as Deputy Director of the Strategic Initiatives Group at Headquarters Marine Corps, and then as the Director of the Commandants Staff Group.
Lanham has logged more than 3,100 flight hours and has been awarded the Legion of Merit Defense Meritorious Service Medal, an Air Medal Strike/Flight Award with bronze numeral six, a Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal with a gold star in lieu of a second award and a Joint Service Achievement Medal.
Before receiving orders to MCAS Beaufort, Lanham spent a year studying at the National War College.
“I am honored and privileged to serve as the next commanding officer,” Lanham said.
“I owe a debt of gratitude to all the commanders that have come before me, many of whom never seem to want to leave this place. I think I’m about to understand why.”