612 ABS welcomes new commander Published June 9, 2014 By Capt. Steven Stubbs Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras -- The 612th Air Base Squadron welcomed a new commander during a change of command ceremony June 5, 2014 at the base's fire department. U. S. Air Force Lt. Col. Sergio J. Vega, Jr. assumed command from U. S. Air Force Lt. Col. Ray P. Matherne with U. S. Air Force Col. Jonathan R. VanNoord, 612th Theater Operations Group commander, presiding. "I promise to carry on the tradition of excellence, innovation and service the 612th Air Base Squadron has provided to its mission, its people and the community," said Vega. "I'm eager and ready to work hand-in-hand with the men and women of the 612th Air Base Squadron to ensure the mission is accomplished." Even though Vega arrived in Honduras a few days ago, he is already impressed by the professionalism and work ethic of his new squadron. "In my short time here, your commitment to the mission and selflessness has shown through," he added. "From the pride in your workspaces to the job knowledge you have demonstrated, I know that I am surrounded by professionals. Each one of you makes the mission and the squadron a success. I am looking forward to meeting everyone of you and I am honored to lead you today and into the future." Vega gave his speech in front of more than 200 Joint Task Force-Bravo Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines, which included special guests such as U. S. Army Col. Thomas Boccardi, the JTF-Bravo commander, and other commanders and representatives from the U. S and Honduras armed forces. Vega understands that for the 612 ABS to succeed he needs the support of his airmen. However, he also realizes that for him to succeed, he must have the backing of his family. "I would like to thank (my children) Kate and Ethan and especially my wife, Sophia, who without her support I would not be here today. Sophia, thank you for your encouragement and sacrifice. You're an amazing wife and key to my success in the Air Force." Vega is a graduate of Texas A&M University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and earned his commission through the reserve officer training corps. He received a Masters of Business Administration from TUI university and is also a graduate of the Air Command Staff and Air War College. Matherne's next assignment will be at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst as the deputy commander of the 612th Contingency Operations Support Group in Trenton, New Jersey. The 612th Air Base Squadron provides air base support to Joint Task Force-Bravo and 12th Air Force including air traffic control, logistics, base civil engineering, fire department, airfield operations and personnel functions. In addition, the squadron maintains Soto Cano Air Base as the United States' only strategic gateway to Central America for United States Southern Command.