Top command position changes hands at the 173rd Fighter Wing

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jefferson Thompson
  • 173rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Col. James C. Miller relinquished command of the Oregon Air National Guard's 173rd Fighter Wing to Col. Jeffrey M. Silver during a change of command ceremony at Kingsley Field, Sept. 11, 2011.

Miller has served as the wing commander of the unit since May 14, 2008. Miller leaves behind command of the 173rd and an impressive record as a command pilot. He has amassed the second most hours in the F-15 behind former 173rd Vice Commander Col. Richard Kelly with 4,413.9 total airframe hours.

"That is a mark I don't think we'll see overtaken, possibly ever," said Master Sgt. Pete Weigman, who is responsible for tracking flight hours for Kingsley pilots.

Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, the adjutant general, Oregon National Guard, thanked Miller for a "wonderful, wonderful command tour," and added that he's "taken on all of the tough jobs," turning to Miller with a smile on his face said "you've even spent a little time at state headquarters as the director of staff."

Miller responded with his signature wry grin.

"We truly appreciate the standards you've set here, well done," Rees added.
Under Miller's leadership, the 173nd Fighter Wing underwent a major runway upgrade which involved relocating the entire wing for more than six months, upgraded every airframe with a new 220 engines and chalked up "Excellent" ratings in a UCI and ORI inspection. Additionally he oversaw the consolidation of formal F-15 training to Kingsley Field, Ore.

In his outgoing remarks he reminded the assembled members of their outstanding track record citing accomplishments from every group.

"All of you throughout the wing have earned the right to look in the mirror and be proud of your accomplishments and what you do for our state and Nation every day," said Miller.
Silver served as the 142nd Fighter Wing operations group commander before becoming the 173rd Fighter Wing vice commander in June.

His career began when he was commissioned in 1984 through the Air National Guard Academy of Military Science and was assigned to the 142nd Fighter Wing, Portland Air National Guard Base, as a Weapon Systems Officer in the F-4C. His duty assignments in the 142d Fighter Wing have included Operations Support Flight Commander, Maintenance Squadron Commander, Maintenance Group Commander, Operations Group Commander, and Vice Commander.

Rees praised Silver for his vast experience including flying Operations Northern and Southern Watch, flying the alert mission in Portland, and commanding the 142nd Maintenance Group.

"You are going to do a great job; we truly appreciate you stepping up to this challenge," said Rees.

Gregg echoed those remarks citing his operational experience in maintenance and flying operations.

"We look forward to the bright future of the 173rd Fighter Wing," said Gregg.
After those remarks Gregg published the order for the change of command and Silver took the guidon as a symbol of his new responsibility and position.

"I'm proud and excited to take command of the 173rd Fighter Wing," said Silver. "Thank you for entrusting me with this responsibility."

Silver thanked those who have gone before him in leadership of the wing mentioning by name Billy Cox, Tom Scheiss and Jim Miller and pledged to lead the wing with the same high standards.