In a ceremony Sunday, Col. Erik Hearon officially took command of the 186th Air Refueling Wing.
"The flag, the colors of the 186th Air Refueling Wing passes for the command of Col. Joe Spraggins to the command of Col. Erik Hearon, an awesome responsibility to be the commander of the best air refueling wing in the United States Air Force," said Maj. Gen. James Lipscomb, adjutant general of the Mississippi Air National Guard.
"We made an announcement nationwide, through the fifty states, three territories and the District of Columbia for a person qualified to be in this wing as commander," Lipscomb added.
The general said Col. Hearon was the best, most qualified officer found in the search. Col. Hearon had been the Operations Group Commander of the 172nd in Jackson prior to assuming command of the 186th.
"We've had Col. Hearon here for about two weeks and he seems like he's going to be real good for the unit and he's excited and we're excited," said Lt. Col. Randy Pope, personnel officer for the 186th.
"We're looking forward to the future. We think we've got a good wing here and I think that Col. Hearon will provide excellent leadership and everything will go forward on a positive note."
Hearon replaced Col. Benjamin Joe Spraggins, who was interim commander. Spraggins will return to his hometown of Gulport to command the Combat Readiness Center.