Friday, October 19, 2007

TOP STORY >>Change of command set Nov. 3 for 189th AW

By Master Sgt. Bob Oldham
189th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 189th Airlift Wing will change hands at a Nov. 3 change of command ceremony, announced Brig. Gen. Riley Porter, the Arkansas Air National Guard commander, at the wing’s Oct. 14 commander’s call.

Col. Jim Summers, the unit’s current vice commander, will replace Col. Dwight Balch, who will join General Porter at Arkansas ANG Headquarters as chief of staff.

“I’ve known both of these men a very long time, they’re great leaders,” said General Porter. “Dwight and I go way back to our tanker days, flying KC-135s in the 1980s. He will be a welcome addition to my staff. Jim has proved himself capable of taking on the responsibilities as a wing commander. I know he will flourish in that role.”

The ceremony is at 10 a.m. in Building 207, the wing’s aircraft hangar. Invitations have been sent to more than 100 area civilian dignitaries and military leaders. Wing members who are not scheduled for training are expected to attend. Additionally, the Arkansas Army Guard’s 106th Army Band will be on hand to perform.

Colonel Summers is a command pilot with more than 8,000 hours in various military aircraft.

He began his military career in 1979 when he joined the Marine Corps to fly CH-46 helicopters. In 1986, he joined the Coast Guard, eventually flying HC-130Hs. He joined the Arkansas ANG’s 154th Training Squadron in 1991 as an instructor pilot.

In 1999, he was named the 189th Maintenance Squadron commander and held the position for two years before he was named the 189th Operations Group commander. He was named the wing’s vice commander this past August.


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