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Command and Camaraderie

Maj. Gen. Michael Akey passing the flag to Col. Robert Brooks during the 14th command change in the 104th Fighter WIngs' 60 year history.

Maj. Gen. Michael Akey passing the flag to Col. Robert Brooks during the 14th command change in the 104th Fighter WIngs' 60 year history.

Symbolic passing of the flag.

AF File Image

BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Massachusetts -- At 3:15 p.m. on August 23rd, the main ramp was teaming with unit members, past commanders, distinguished visitors and the media to witness the transition of command to Col. Robert T. Brooks, Jr.

This command change is only the 14th in the units' 60 year history. Col. Robert Brooks, born and raised in Alabama, was previously assigned to the Lousiana Air National Guard and has flown F-15s for the past 20 years and brings with him a wealth of knowledge.

During the Assumption of Command, Maj. Gen. Michael Akey, the Massachusetts Air National Guard Commander spoke of transitions and the future of the Air National Guard. He highlighted the efforts of the Airmen of the 104th Fighter Wing but also emphasizing that the entire state is transiting; specifically the 102nd Intelligence Wing which is expanding its mission sets to empower the troops on the ground in foreign nations by analyzing and processing the footage from the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles employed throughout the Middle East.

Brig. Gen. L. Scott Rice, the Assistant Adjutant General for Air also addressed change, specifically highlighting that we, as Airman need to remember our ABC's. "A - Always take care of your fellow Airman, B - Back to Basics, and C - Courage to do the right thing." These three principles will enable this unit to have continued success.

Following the symbolic passing of the flag, Col. Brooks assumed command of one of the premiere Air National Guard Units in the Combat Air Force. When addressing the 1,000 spectators, he assured everyone that the 104th Fighter Wing has a reputation of excellence, and he will work to maintain that reputation, by following the example set before him. He referenced Brig. Gen. Rice's ABC principal and place emphasis's on "building a foundation of sound processes," which follows the 'back to basics' theme.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the camaraderie began as more then 400 members transitioned to the Pioneer Valley club where the Officer's Club hosted an Enlisted Appreciation night and the Chief's Council organized a car show.

The night was filled with member's getting back to basics...reminiscing and looking forward to our new mission, new commander, and new challenges...ready to continue the traditions we inherited when we became Barnstormers.