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SCANG welcomes new leaders during change of command

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Stephen Hudson
  • 169 Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The Swamp Fox welcomed three new commanders as the guidon was passed on several key leadership roles during a change-of-command ceremony during May's drill weekend, May 14.

Colonel David Meyer handed over command of the 169th Fighter Wing to his vice commander, Col. Nicholas Gentile, as Meyer moves to a new leadership role at a national level. Meyer is assuming a role with the National Guard Bureau managing domestic operations. 

"I leave this wing in fantastic hands," Meyer said. "You are in the hands of outstanding leaders." 

Meyer, a command pilot with more than 4,000 flight hours, took his "fini-flight" in an F-16 fighter jet prior to relinquishing command of the fighter wing.  He lead the wing through a deployment to Southwest Asia in 2014, Vigilant Guard 2015 and the historic October 2015 floods, where the South Carolina Air National Guard responded for the domestic operations mission.

"I have been incredibly blessed for a career of 29 years, flying 28 of those in the F-16," Meyer said. "It has been an incredible privilege and honor to do that."

Gentile, who has served as the wing vice commander since October 2014, accepted the role as the wing commander from Meyer. His first major task is to prepare and lead the wing through a four-month Theater Security Package to the Pacific Air Forces area of operations later this summer.

Gentile said he was 'humbled' to follow so many great wing commanders.

"I've got your back," Gentile told the crowd. "I'll make sure you have the money, the manpower, the facilities, and the equipment. Everything you need. If you're not getting it, make sure I know and Col. Gandhi and I will go find it." 

South Carolina's Adjutant General, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston Jr., spoke to the assembled fighter wing, and thanked Col. Meyer for his leadership, saying he did a 'terrific job'.

"Col. Gentile, as usual, you are the right guy at the right time," Livingston said.

During the change of command ceremony, Lt. Col. Askhai Gandhi assumed the role as the wing's vice commander from Gentile and passed the guidon as commander of the 157th Fighter Squadron to Lt. Col. Brian Tenbrunsel.  As the 157th FS commander for the past three years, Lt. Col. Gandhi led his unit during an unprecedented period with more than 15 deployments to four continents.

"The Swamp Fox Standard. What is standard to us, is what many organizations aspire to," Gandhi said. 

Tenbrunsel is a career F-16 pilot, who most recently stood up the South Carolina Air National Guard's Air Operations Branch at the Joint Operations Center and led the efforts during the historic October floods. He also worked on the wing staff, managing the wing Safety office and later the wing Plans section.

In a ceremony at the wing auditorium May 15, Lt. Col. Gandhi was promoted to colonel.