173rd Mission Support Group Command Changes Hands

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jefferson Thompson
  • 173rd Fighter Wing

The 173rd Fighter Wing Mission Support Group welcomed a new commander, Feb. 11, 2018. Col. James Mitchell accepted the guideon from Col. Jeff Smith, 173rd Fighter Wing commander, signifying the moment that command passed to him.

Mitchell began his career in the U.S. Army in 1994 before transferring to the Oregon Army National Guard in 2000 and later into the Oregon Air National Guard. His time in the Army is evidenced by the Ranger tab displayed on the left shoulder of his dress blues, as well as his Airborne wings and the Expert Infantryman Badge worn below his ribbon rack.

During his remarks, Mitchell noted the diversity of the support mission, from supplying aircraft parts and fuel, to managing the myriad construction projects taking place across Kingsley Field. He commended his new Airmen on excellent work and said he looks forward to the coming years.

“With significant deployed leadership experience and nearly five years of command with the 116th Air Control Squadron, he will bring a wide breadth of experience to the 173rd Fighter Wing,” said Smith of incoming commander Mitchell. “We welcome him to Team Kingsley and look forward to his leadership and innovation in support of our world-class operations.”

Outgoing commander, Col. Craig Rezac, leaves the unit after assuming command in August of 2016. He said upon relinquishing command that he steps away from a superbly functioning unit which is ready to meet the challenges that come with a growing mission and an ever-changing environment.

Rezac is returning to Washington D.C. having accepted a position on the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs staff. Smith wished him well during the ceremony and mentioned a number of challenges and successes the mission support group overcame during his tenure, including fighting wildland fires, planning and programing for $86-million in construction, and conversion of Airmen to Title 5 status.