A career space professional took command of the 14th Air Force in a formal change-of-command ceremony at the parade grounds here May 3.

Maj. Gen. Michael A. Hamel, former chief of the director of space operations and integration, Deputy Chief of Staff for Air and Space Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., succeeded Lt. Gen. Bill “Tunes” Looney who moves on to be the commander of the Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom AFB, Mass.

“Mike Hamel epitomized space professional, before we coined the word,” said Gen. Ed Eberhart, commander in chief, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Space Command, and Department of Defense manager for Manned Space Flight Support Operations, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.

Hamel”s career is exclusively space and missile. He began his career in 1972 as a staff development planner, Space and Missile Systems Organization, Los Angeles AFB, Calif. The general”s first commanding position was in 1994 with the 750th Space Group, Onizuka Air Station, Calif.

Between 1972 and 1994, Hamel spent time in Colorado, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles doing jobs such as missile analyst, mission director, air staff training officer and chief, plans division at Peterson.

“It”s truly an honor to be commanding such an outstanding unit as the 14th Air Force,” Hamel said during the ceremony. “The 14th has an incredible and proud heritage, the biggest achievements and the brightest future.”