Chalk Retires, 186th Welcomes New Commander

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One of the most familiar faces on the Meridian military scene is retiring from his job.

Col. Franklin Chalk has led the Air National Guard in Meridian through multiple transitions during the last several years. But he has decided it's now time to leave it behind.

Guardsmen honored him with a retirement ceremony at Key Field Friday. Hundreds gathered for the ceremony including many friends and family members.

Chalk has had a major impact on the community and the unit but he says his biggest accomplishment was helping bring the air refueling tankers back to Meridian.

"Without a doubt, it would be my part in getting the KC135s back here at Key Field," said Chalk. "Of course, you know I did not do that on my own. Cong. Harper was instrumental in it. Tom Williams, Lamar McDonald, a lot of our retired members, all participated in that. It was quite an accomplishment, I think."

Chalk will be replaced by Col. Mike Nabors. When asked about what he has planned for the future, Nabors said he just wants to get out in the community and find out how they can help. But most importantly, he wants to add onto what has already been a great legacy.

"Just a learning curve for the first month, but probably the most important thing I could do is continue a legacy we've had here for nearly a hundred years, of the great work we do for this country and this nation,' said Nabors. "And if we do that every day, they can't do without us."

Chalk will continue his command, until Nabors assumes his duties Dec. 7.