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Multiple changes of command during the May UTA

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jorge E. Intriago
  • 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The South Carolina Air National Guard's 169th Fighter Wing and the 169th Operations Group recognized key leadership changes during a formal change of command ceremony, May 3.

U.S. Air Force Col. Michael Manning retired after 34 years of service to the Air Force and the S. C. Air National Guard and relinquished command of the wing to Col. David Meyer and Col. Keith Miller assumed command of the 169th OG from Meyer.

As a fighter pilot, Manning reached a milestone of more than 4,528 flying hours in the F-16 Fighting Falcon and led the wing, first as the vice commander and then commander, from March 2012 through May 2014.

"Manning is an analytical guy, with an ability to deal with the numbers to make things be where they need to be," said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston Jr., The Adjutant General for South Carolina. "He showed that in the inspections, in the readiness and in the rebuilding of our strengths. I could not have asked for a better leader at the right time."

Manning's synchronization of wing assets contributed to two successful combat deployments. One of which was the largest Air National Guard fighter wing deployment since Desert Storm. In between the deployments, he prepared and led the wing through a rigorous Combined Unit Readiness Evaluation where the wing earned an excellent overall grade in a first-of-its-kind inspection by the Air Combat Command's Inspector General.

After taking a moment to thank his family, honored guests and those in formation, Manning passed on some simple advice. He recalled that he asked a lot from the Airmen of the 169th FW when facing the challenges of deployments, inspections and the Aerospace Control Alert mission. He said the experience was amazing to witness and wanted every Swampfox know that he appreciated their hard work, patience, commitment to the high Swampfox standards and most importantly for their positive attitudes.

"Make every day count. The end comes a lot faster than you think. Finish your time out here with no regrets," said Manning. "There is something that makes the Swampfox special and moves us to achieve at a high level on a continuous basis. I think it is in our attitude. A positive attitude is contagious. So everyone, I recommend you to jump in, enjoy the hard work because it is a great feeling to be a part of a winning team, the Swampfox, Semper Primus and God's speed."

Manning presided over the change of command for the 169th OG and had the following comments about the unit's new commander, Col. Keith "Dolph" Miller.

"I know Dolph is ready to take on the challenge. Fighter operations has prepared him well for the new job he is about to take on. Dolph truly cares about his work and his organization. That is the kind of leader you want in front of the Ops Group and it is going to be a great next couple to three years," said Manning.

Upon accepting his unit colors, Miller spoke about his appreciation for being a part of SCANG and the opportunity to lead the 169th OG.

"We will maintain our mission focus, to squeeze every bit of combat capability we can out of our aircraft," said Miller. "It is a team effort. Everyone here contributes to our ability to execute the mission and I will do my best to work with you to maintain that mission focus."

Before Manning passed on the colors of the 169th FW, he took a few moments to thank Meyer for a successful three-year command of the 169th OG.

"He has done a fantastic job as the ops group commander. He set the vision for the organization and fought for the resources to get the job done. His mild manner and contagiously positive attitude made for a great place to work in ops [169th OG]." said Manning. "His ability to grasp complex issues and to think outside the box and develop plans of attack to see it through to success is what makes him such a great commander."

Meyer's accepted command of the wing's colors and took a few moments to thank his family and the men and women of the SCANG for entrusting him with the opportunity of command.

"We had a very busy four years with three deployments to the Middle East and multiple inspections," said Meyer. "Now we are going to concentrate on readiness and resilience. We want to make sure you are ready to deploy in your primary job and we want to make sure you are physically and medically capable to do so."

The change of command ceremony ended with the unveiling of the wing commander's flagship, aircraft #169 and an invitation to enjoy the festivities of the Family Day Celebration that followed.