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Smith takes command of 173rd Fighter Wing

Airmen of the 173rd Fighter Wing stand at parade rest during a change of command ceremony in which Col. Jeffrey Smith accepted the helm from Brig. Gen. Kirk Piercewho was promoted in an earlier ceremony. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jefferson Thompson/released)

Airmen of the 173rd Fighter Wing stand at parade rest during a change of command ceremony in which Col. Jeffrey Smith accepted the helm from Brig. Gen. Kirk Piercewho was promoted in an earlier ceremony. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jefferson Thompson/released)

The assembled Airmen of the 173rd Fighter Wing render a salute to the U.S. Flag during a change of command ceremony in which Col. Jeffrey Smith accepted the helm from Brig. Gen. Kirk Pierce April 3, 2016 at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Ore.  Smith, the former maintenance group commander, brings with him a wealth of experience with just over 20 years of service.   (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jefferson Thompson/released)

The assembled Airmen of the 173rd Fighter Wing render a salute to the U.S. Flag during a change of command ceremony in which Col. Jeffrey Smith accepted the helm from Brig. Gen. Kirk Pierce April 3, 2016 at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Ore. Smith, the former maintenance group commander, brings with him a wealth of experience with just over 20 years of service. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jefferson Thompson/released)

Brig. General Jeff Silver, Oregon Air National Guard Commander, passes the guideon to Col. Jeffrey Smith as he accepts command of the 173rd Fighter Wing during a change of command ceremony April 3, 2016 at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Ore. Brig. Gen. Kirk Pierce relinquished command following his promotion to flag rank earlier in the afternoon. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jefferson Thompson/released)

Brig. General Jeff Silver, Oregon Air National Guard Commander, passes the guideon to Col. Jeffrey Smith as he accepts command of the 173rd Fighter Wing during a change of command ceremony April 3, 2016 at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Ore. Brig. Gen. Kirk Pierce relinquished command following his promotion to flag rank earlier in the afternoon. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jefferson Thompson/released)

Airman First Class Carlos Ruiz,173rd Maintenance Group, reveals Col. Jeff Smith’s name emblazoned on the newly painted Oregon Air National Guard 75th Anniversary jet as he assumes command of the 173rd Fighter Wing, April 3, 2016 at Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls, Ore. Smith accepted the helm from Brig. Gen. Kirk Pierce, who was promoted in an earlier ceremony. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jefferson Thompson)

Airman First Class Carlos Ruiz,173rd Maintenance Group, reveals Col. Jeff Smith’s name emblazoned on the newly painted Oregon Air National Guard 75th Anniversary jet as he assumes command of the 173rd Fighter Wing, April 3, 2016 at Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls, Ore. Smith accepted the helm from Brig. Gen. Kirk Pierce, who was promoted in an earlier ceremony. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jefferson Thompson)

KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. -- A change of command took place April 3, 2016, at Kingsley Field.  Colonel Jeff Smith, who has more than 20 years of military experience, took command of the 173rd Fighter Wing in an official ceremony.

Smith has a wide range of experience to including 10 years with the active-duty component and joined the Oregon Air National Guard in 2005.  He previously served as the 173rd Maintenance Group Commander, and prior to that held numerous positions within the 173rd FW to include 173rd Maintenance Group Deputy Commander, 173rd Maintenance Squadron Commander, and the 114th Fighter Squadron Director of Operations. 

"Col. Smith is one of Kingsley's own, with strong relationships at the national level,"  said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Silver, Oregon Air National Guard Commander. "I have no doubt that he will successfully carry on the 173rd Fighter Wing's legacy of excellence as he leads the Wing forward."

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, Smith's name was revealed on the wing flagship F-15 Eagle. The newly painted aircraft on display commemorates the Oregon Air National Guard's 75th Anniversary.

Smith thanked those in attendance, the local community, and his family. 

"I'm excited to have the opportunity to help the whole wing move forward," Smith said.  "We have phenomenal Airman doing phenomenal things all across the base. I will learn a ton in this new job about people and jobs that I have not been directly connected with before, and I look forward to it."

Smith noted that this job does not come to him without challenges but was quick to add, "We have the right team with the right skillsets to address all of those with proper engagement."

Smith replaced Brig. Gen. Kirk Pierce, who commanded the 173rd Fighter Wing since January 2015.