173rd Fighter Wing Commander retiring

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Col. Jeremy Baenen, 173rd Fighter Wing Commander, will retire after 22 years of service. An official retirement ceremony is scheduled for November 21, here, at 12 p.m.

Baenen has commanded the 173rd FW since January 2013 when he replaced Col. Jeffery Silver.

During Baenen's stead, the wing has seen numerous changes with the introduction of Active Duty Airmen in the Total Force Initiative, major base construction, and the highest number of pilot production ever. All of this has been accomplished while facing tremendous fiscal constraints.

"The thing I am probably most proud of is what the Airmen have done here," said Baenen. "It's been a lot of challenges but during all of that it was really fun to see everyone rise to the challenge, meet the mission, and hit the ball out of the park every time."

The Wing has been recognized numerous times during Baenen's command, most recently during the first ever Unit Effectiveness Inspection, earning the rating of Highly Effective. Baenen credits these accomplishments to the professionalism of the Airmen of the 173rd FW.

"It's very satisfying to me to finish my career in this wing which is doing really tremendous work for the Air Force. As a key piece to pilot production--we are where America's air superiority begins--watching us meet those objectives, I am walking away really, really happy," said Baenen.

Col. Kirk Pierce will assume command of the 173rd FW in January. Pierce is currently the Director of Plans and Programs for the National Guard Bureau in Washington D.C. An official assumption of command ceremony will take place upon his arrival with a date and time to be determined. Col. Gregor Leist, 173rd FW Vice Wing Commander, will be the acting Wing Commander until Pierce's arrival.

The 173rd Fighter Wing is home to the sole F-15C training base for the United States Air Force.