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173rd Fighter Wing welcomes new commander

U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Michael Stencel, Oregon Air National Guard Commander, presents the 173rd Fighter Wing guidon to Colonel Kirk Pierce, the incoming 173rd FW Commander, during an Assumption of Command ceremony at Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls, Ore. Jan. 10, 2015.  Pierce has 26 years of military service and was previously assigned as the Director of Plans and Programs for the National Guard Bureau. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Penny Snoozy/Released)

U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Michael Stencel, Oregon Air National Guard Commander, presents the 173rd Fighter Wing guidon to Colonel Kirk Pierce, the incoming 173rd FW Commander, during an Assumption of Command ceremony at Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls, Ore. Jan. 10, 2015. Pierce has 26 years of military service and was previously assigned as the Director of Plans and Programs for the National Guard Bureau. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Penny Snoozy/Released)

U.S. Air Force Colonel Kirk Pierce, the incoming 173rd Fighter Wing Commander, salutes Brigadier General Michael Stencel, Oregon Air National Guard Commander, presents the during an Assumption of Command ceremony at Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls, Ore. Jan. 10, 2015.  Pierce has 26 years of military service and was previously assigned as the Director of Plans and Programs for the National Guard Bureau. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Penny Snoozy/Released)

U.S. Air Force Colonel Kirk Pierce, the incoming 173rd Fighter Wing Commander, salutes Brigadier General Michael Stencel, Oregon Air National Guard Commander, presents the during an Assumption of Command ceremony at Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls, Ore. Jan. 10, 2015. Pierce has 26 years of military service and was previously assigned as the Director of Plans and Programs for the National Guard Bureau. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Penny Snoozy/Released)

U.S. Air Force Colonel Kirk Pierce, 173rd Fighter Wing Commander, speaks to the audience about his vision for the future of the wing during an Assumption of Command ceremony at Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls, Ore. Jan. 10, 2015.  Pierce has 26 years of military service and was previously assigned as the Director of Plans and Programs for the National Guard Bureau. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Penny Snoozy/Released)

U.S. Air Force Colonel Kirk Pierce, 173rd Fighter Wing Commander, speaks to the audience about his vision for the future of the wing during an Assumption of Command ceremony at Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls, Ore. Jan. 10, 2015. Pierce has 26 years of military service and was previously assigned as the Director of Plans and Programs for the National Guard Bureau. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Penny Snoozy/Released)

KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. -- "Sir, I assume command," said , Col. Kirk "Tick" Pierce, thereby accepting command of the 173rd Fighter Wing, Jan. 10, 2015. The official passing of the guideon took place here during an assumption of command ceremony held in the base theater.

In addition to sharing some of his background and command philosophy, Pierce lauded the Airmen of the 173rd Fighter Wing. "It's an honor for me to represent and to lead you. You have a phenomenal reputation in both the State and Air Force," he said.

Pierce comes to Wing from the National Guard Bureau in Washington where he served as the Director of Plans and Programs for the National Guard Bureau, as well as the Senior Military Advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy - Strategy and Force Development at the Pentagon.  He has over 26 years military experience serving in multiple capacities all over the United States. 

Maj. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, the Adjutant General for Oregon, was the presiding officer for the ceremony.  "'Tick' is truly an exceptional officer and the right leader for this truly exceptional Wing," said Hokanson.

Pierce's flying background is primarily in the F-16 airframe; however, he will have a first-hand view of the 173rd FW's schoolhouse as he retrains to fly the F-15 Eagle.

Pierce replaces Colonel Jeremy "Weed" Baenen, who commanded the wing from January 2013 to November 2014.

The 173rd FW is the home to the sole F-15C schoolhouse for the United States Air Force.