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173rd Fighter Wing changes hands

Colonel Jeremy Baenen, incomming commander for the 173rd Fighter Wing, accepts the Wing guideon from Brig. General Steven Gregg, Commander Oregon Air National Guard, during an official change of command ceremony January 13, 2013 at Kingsley Field.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar) RELEASED

Colonel Jeremy Baenen, incomming commander for the 173rd Fighter Wing, accepts the Wing guideon from Brig. General Steven Gregg, Commander Oregon Air National Guard, during an official change of command ceremony January 13, 2013 at Kingsley Field. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar) RELEASED

Members of the 173rd Fighter Wing stand at parade rest during an official change of command ceremony January 13, 2013 at Kingsley Field.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar) RELEASED

Members of the 173rd Fighter Wing stand at parade rest during an official change of command ceremony January 13, 2013 at Kingsley Field. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar) RELEASED

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. -- A change of command took place January 13, 2013, at Kingsley Field. Colonel Jeremy "Weed" Baenen, who has over 21 years of military experience, took command of the 173rd Fighter Wing in an official ceremony.

Baenen has a wide range of experience, including 10 years with the active duty component before joining the Oregon Air National Guard in 2002. He most recently commanded the 173rd Operations Group and Baenen held numerous positions in the 142nd Fighter Wing, Portland Air National Guard Base before joining Kingsley in 2010. Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, The Adjutant General, Oregon, said these assignments provide a strong experience base necessary for this key command position.

"I am confident (Colonel Banenen) will continue and surpass the expected level of excellence here at Kingsley," said Rees. "You inherit a great legacy of team work and can-do spirit. Thank you for accepting this challenge. No slack," he added.

The official ceremony included the passing of the Wing guideon from the outgoing commander to the incoming commander. According to Air Force protocol, this ceremony is rooted in military history, dating to the 18th Century. During this time, organizational flags were developed representing the individual units. When a change of command took place, the outgoing commander would pass the flag to the individual assuming command. This took place in front of the entire unit so that all could witness the new commander assuming his position.

Additionally, Baenen's name was revealed on the Wing flagship F-15 Eagle, as the commander of the 173rd Fighter Wing. Flowers were presented to the wives of both of the outgoing and incoming commander from the members of the 173rd Fighter Wing.

Baenen thanked those in attendance and his family. "The greatest thank you goes to the members of the 173rd Fighter Wing, who day in and day out do an exceptional job," he added.
He continued saying, "It is an exceptional privilege to be selected as the commander to both
represent and serve this great organization. Our reputation for high standards is renowned throughout the nation, and I am very optimistic about the future of this Wing."

Baenen replaced Col. Jeffrey "Hi-Ho" Silver, who commanded the 173rd Fighter Wing since September 11, 2011.

Rees thanked Silver for his work during his time as commander. "You have been a great steward and we wish you well," he said.