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173rd FW LRS Sees Top Leadership Change

KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. --

The 173rd Fighter Wing Logistics Readiness Squadron welcomed a new commander, Feb. 28, 2018. Lt. Col. William Wilkinson accepted the guideon from Col. James Mitchell, 173rd Mission Support Group commander, as he assumed command of the squadron.

Upon relinquishing the guideon, outgoing commander Lt. Col. Martin Balakas said, “I have never been more greatly challenged, nor more greatly supported by the men and women who will now be in your care, and I’m so looking forward to the amazing things that together you will accomplish.”

Balakas is now assigned to the Joint Operation Center in Salem, Ore.

Wilkinson, who hails from the intelligence community, thanked the command for the opportunity, saying in his signature lighthearted fashion, “I appreciate the gamble you’re taking on an intel guy.  I hope that my hard work will pay off on that gamble.”

Mitchell noted that Wilkinson is stepping out of his comfort zone and characterized it humorously saying, “He’s going from being King Kong of intel, ‘you ask me—I know every answer,’ to ‘I’m the guy in the corner with a dunce cap, but I’m your leader …’”

He went on to say that Wilkinson’s diverse experience as an intelligence officer are the type of experiences he can draw on to make his tenure at the helm of the LRS successful.

Wilkinson’s experience includes a legislative fellowship in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014-15, deputy commander of the 1st Special Operations Support Squadron at Hurlburt Field, and he holds separate bachelor’s degrees in Russian Studies and Communications as well as a master’s degree in International Affairs.

Wilkinson previously commanded the Intelligence Flight at the 173rd Operations Group.