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New commander takes reigns of 173rd MXG

U.S. Air Force Col. Kirk Pierce, 173rd Fighter Wing Commander, passes a guideon to Col Jeffrey Smith symbolizing Smith's assumption of command of the 173rd Maintenance Group at Kingsley Field, Ore. April 12, 2015.  Smith is taking over for Col. Matt Andrews who will be retiring in May.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Penny Snoozy/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Kirk Pierce, 173rd Fighter Wing Commander, passes a guideon to Col Jeffrey Smith symbolizing Smith's assumption of command of the 173rd Maintenance Group at Kingsley Field, Ore. April 12, 2015. Smith is taking over for Col. Matt Andrews who will be retiring in May. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Penny Snoozy/Released)

Members of the 173rd Maintenance Group stand in formation during an official change of command ceremony for the group at Kingsley Field, Ore. April 12, 2015.  Col. Jeffrey Smith is taking over for Col. Matt Andrews who will be retiring in May.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Penny Snoozy/Released)

Members of the 173rd Maintenance Group stand in formation during an official change of command ceremony for the group at Kingsley Field, Ore. April 12, 2015. Col. Jeffrey Smith is taking over for Col. Matt Andrews who will be retiring in May. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Penny Snoozy/Released)

KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. -- The 173rd Fighter Wing Maintenance Group officially welcomed a new commander April 12, 2015. Newly promoted Col. Jeffrey Smith took command of the group from Col. Matthew Andrews.

Smith has served many roles at Kingsley Field over the years. He was the deputy commander for MXG from November 2013 to April 2015, the Maintenance Squadron commander from May 2012 to November 2013, and the 114th Fighter Squadron Director of Operations from February 2011 to May 2012. Smith has been at Kingsley for 10 years, and has just hit his 20 year mark in the Air Force.

Smith stated Kingsley "..ha[s] a phenomenal group of Airmen in the 173rd Maintenance Group, including our new accessions from the Active Duty." 

As the base gains additional personnel for the Total Force Integration, which adds Active Duty members to support Kingsley's F-15 training mission, the MXG is growing to approximately 450 Airmen. Smith hopes to guide the whole group to continued excellence.

"We have overcome some tremendous challenges over the last five to eight years in this group and I am confident our folks are up to the new challenges of iron flow and increased sortie production moving forward," says Smith.

Smith says he is lucky to be in this position after working so many years across the street in the operations group and adds, "Certainly there are some processes to improve... but in general, the group does, and has done, a simply amazing job."

Andrews took command of the MXG in August 2011 and will retire in May 2015.