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Former warfare center advisor Reiss new ops squadron commander

Lt. Col. Walter Reiss III, center, accepts command of the 232nd Operations Squadron from Brig. Gen Davis Snyder, left, at Creech Air Force Base on Mar. 20 while Lt. Col. Warren Rapp, right, views the transfer of the unit's flag of command. Reiss, a 1993 Air Force Academy graduate, was formerly an advisor to the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center on issues related to total force integration and civil aviation activities.

Photo by Maj. Dennis Fournier, NV Joint Force Headquarters Public Affairs

Lt. Col. Walter Reiss III, center, accepts command of the 232nd Operations Squadron from Brig. Gen Davis Snyder, left, at Creech Air Force Base on Mar. 20 while Lt. Col. Warren Rapp, right, views the transfer of the unit's flag of command. Reiss, a 1993 Air Force Academy graduate, was formerly an advisor to the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center on issues related to total force integration and civil aviation activities. Photo by Maj. Dennis Fournier, NV Joint Force Headquarters Public Affairs

CREECH AIR FORCE BASE -- Lt. Col. Walter Reiss III, formerly an advisor to the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center, became the third commander in the history of the Nevada Air Guard's 232nd Operations Squadron when he received the flag of command for the unit here in a ceremony on March 20.  

Reiss, 44, succeeded Lt. Col. Warren Rapp as the commander of the only classic associate unit in the Nevada Air Guard. In the Air Force's classic associate program, an active duty Air Force unit retains principle responsibility for a system and shares the equipment with reserve component units. The 232nd, which includes about 60 Airmen, is heavily integrated with nine active-duty squadrons in southern Nevada in the unmanned aerial systems mission field.

Reiss, a Las Vegas resident, graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1993 with a bachelor's in engineering mechanics. He joined the Nevada Guard in 2006 after serving as an active duty KC-135, Predator and Reaper pilot.

For the past two years, Reiss served as the Nevada Air Guard's advisor to the commander of the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center at Nellis Air Force Base on matters pertaining to the Nevada Air Guard's resources and activities.

Reiss, who is married and has two daughters, accepted his command with humility and said his focus was on the future.

"I thank the Nevada Guard's leadership for the faith and confidence they've displayed in me with the honor and privilege of command," Reiss said. "I will continue to evolve with our active duty hosts to provide the best support for our combat forces abroad and our civil authorities here at home."

Reiss said he will use his experience as an advisor to the U.S. Air Force to further the Air Force's total force initiative and sustain the Nevada Guard's relevance in global and domestic operations, "My operational experience and the knowledge I've acquired through organizational interactions will add to the creation, maintenance and improvement of relationships that will benefit the Nevada Guard in the future," Reiss said.

Brig. Gen. David Snyder, the commander of the Nevada Air Guard, presided over the ceremony and praised the leadership of Rapp as well as encouraged Reiss during his comments.
 
"Lt. Col. Rapp established and maintained relationships critical to the success of the classic associate structure and created an identity for the 232nd that each Airman can be proud of," Snyder said. "I look forward to the continued vitality of the 232nd under Lt. Col. Reiss as we further integrate with our active duty partners."

Rapp, 46, of Las Vegas, was thankful for his command opportunity and praised the members of the 232nd for their service. Until it was activated as a squadron in 2007, the unit was known as Detachment 1.

"I have the utmost confidence I am handing off a combat-tested, mission-ready squadron of the finest people with whom I have ever had the privilege of serving," Rapp said, noting the squadron is one of the busiest in the Nevada Air Guard.

The ceremony also marked the retirement of Rapp from military after almost 27 years of active duty service, including nine years with the Marine Corps. Rapp thanked his wife and four children for their patience and support throughout his career. He also thanked the Guard officials who fought to keep him in the military despite his battle with leukemia in 2000.