Courtesy of AFAMS

Following the military traditional ritual of accepting the organization’s flag as a symbol of its members’ loyalty and trust during the assumption of command ceremony, Colonel Bradley M. “Critter” Crites, became the 9th commander of the Air Force Agency for Modeling and Simulation (AFAMS). The ceremony, which dates back to the 18th century, was held at Central Florida Research Park’s Partnership III Building, in Orlando, Florida, on June 13, 2014.

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Col. Bradley M. “Critter” Crites (right) accepts AFAMS’ flag from Brig Gen Eric S. Overturf, during the Assumption of Command ceremony on June 13, 2014. (Photo credit: Doug Schaub)

“I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to take command of AFAMS and spearhead the efforts for the Air Force in taking training to a new level,” Col Crites stated, “I’m committed, not only to advance the momentum AFAMS is currently experiencing through innovative initiatives that will affect the way the Air Force trains airmen in the future, but to uphold this great organization’s credibility, and continue building trust from the Live, Virtual and Constructive (LVC) community.”

Brigadier General Eric S. Overturf, Mobilization Assistant to the Director of Operations, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans and Requirements delivered an introspective opening speech, not only highlighting “Critter’s” diverse military background and why he’s the perfect choice to lead AFAMS, but sharing his perspective on the significance of LVC through his personal experiences as a veteran combat pilot.

“‘Critter’ brings a pattern of operational excellence,” stated General Overturf, “When you combine that quality with all the brain power in this room – this ‘Genius Bar’ of Modeling and Simulation, as I call it, that’s the formula to turn LVC on the right path of getting our warfighters ready for combat.”

Col. Crites will be responsible to oversee the Air Force initiatives for Enterprise solutions that will help build an efficient foundation to achieve Readiness Thru LVC, and allow warfighters to maximize their performance and decision making. Before assuming AFAMS’ command, he served as Deputy Director of Operations, 12th Air Force and Air Force Southern, at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, sharing responsibility for overseeing, planning, and executing counter drug and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance operations throughout their area of responsibility, as well as the U.S. Southern Command’s radar architecture, medical operations and exercises. He is a decorated command pilot with combat experience in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Afghanistan, and has served in multiple deployments throughout his military career.

“He trained his whole life for this job,” Gen. Overturf assured the audience and acknowledged the support he has received throughout his career of what he calls, “Team Crites,” referring to his wife Kristy, and his three kids, Sean, Anna, and Ryan, all siting in the first row at the ceremony.

Among the distinguished guests in attendance at the ceremony were: Mr. Al Wickman, director of Command and Control, OPS Systems for Modeling and Simulation, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans and Requirements; Lieutenant General (Ret.) Tom Baptiste, director of the National Center for Simulation; Major General Jonathan Maddux, Program Executive Officer for Simulation Training and Instrumentation; Captain Steve Nakagawa, commanding officer of the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division and Naval Support Activity; and, Colonel Todd Freece, commander, of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), Detachment 159 at the University of Central Florida. The ROTC’s cadets marched as Color Guard in honor of AFAMS’ new commander.

Also present to welcome the new commander were government representatives from the Office of Senator Marco Rubio, Congressmen John Mika and Daniel Webster. Mr. Robert DeForest lead the invocation sharing very inspiring words.

The ceremony ended with an informal reception, giving Col. Crites and his family the opportunity to meet all the distinguished guests, colleagues and acquaintances.