Meridian, Miss. It was a big day at Meridian's Key Field on Saturday as guardsmen gathered to formally welcome a new leader to the 186th Air Refueling Wing.
Airmen and officers gathered at the Key Field Air National Guard base to recognize their new commander, Col. Mike Nabors. The wing's previous commander, Col. Franklin Chalk, retired on Nov. 30. After a thorough review of applicants qualifications and skills, Col. Nabors was chosen as the best candidate.
"When Col. Chalk retired, they were nice enough at state headquarters to kind of look at me and give me a chance to show them what I've done over the years," Col. Nabors recalls. "I guess they must have liked what they saw and decided to give me an opportunity."
Mississippi National Guard Adjutant General Augustus Collins says the entire base is thrilled to see Col. Nabors take on this role.
"Everybody here is very excited because the officers and airmen here know him, they have experience with him, they've worked with him in the past," Adjutant General Collins says. "They have a great deal of respect for him as well as I do and I think they were pleased with the selection."
Col. Nabors new responsibilities will include overseeing the mission and the members of his wing, as well as recruiting new members to join the guard. Col. Nabors has over 30 years experience in the Air Force and General Collins says despite the overwhelming responsibility he'll be taking on, everyone expects him to slip into this new position with no problems.
"He's an experienced pilot, he's a great leader," Collins stresses. "I think he is the right man to carry this air wing to the next level."
With an overwhelming outpouring of support and confidence behind him, Col. Nabors says he's incredibly grateful for this new opportunity.
"Other than the birth of my children, this is probably the greatest honor that I'll receive in my life," Nabors adds.
Col. Nabors will now over see all logistics, training, personnel, and flying exercises for the entire base at Key Field.