185th Change of Command

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt Vincent De Groot
  • 185ARW Wing Public Affairs

The 185th Air Refueling Wing held a Change-of-Command ceremony at the base on June 7, 2014. Col. Brian Miller retired after 34 years of military service and seven years as Wing Commander. Col. Miller relinquished command of the 185th to Sioux City native Col. Larry Christensen.

An Iowa State University graduate with a business degree, Col. Christensen was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. with the 185th in 1987 when he also began pilot training. As a longtime member of the 185th Col Christensen has flown the A-7 Corsair, F-16 fighter aircraft and is now a KC-135 tanker pilot. He has most recently been serving the unit as the Operations Group Commander.

Throughout his tenure he has served as Current Operations Officer, Safety Officer and Maintenance Group Commander.

Christensen assumed command of the 185th from Miller, who has served as the commander of the 185th for the past 7 years. During his entire time as the 185th Commander the Air National Guard has been involved in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the 185th has seen continuous deployments in support of the wars.

On hand for the ceremony was Iowa National Guard Deputy Adjutant General for Air, Brigadier General Derek Hill who lauded the performance of the unit through the last several years under Miller's command as a unit that performed very well during several inspections all while deploying equipment and personal throughout the world.


"Under Col Miller's mentoring and leadership many 185th members and units received regional and national recognition for their accomplishments; its quite an impressive list, inspection after inspection award after award recognition after recognition you are an organization of excellence" said Hill.


When talking about Millers time as the 185th's commander, Hill praised the Iowa National Guard as being one of the top in the nation, providing continuous support for global contingency operations.


"While he was in Kabul Afghanistan as the Vice Commander for the 9th Air and Space Component he skillfully managed the first ever deployment of NATO AWACS command and control platforms to CENTCOM AOR and transformed Tactical Air Control, and ensured that close air support mission met the twelve minute minimum response to troops in contact, for this deployment he earned the Bronze Star" said Hill.

With his roots deeply tied to the Siouxland area Col. Christensen believes the Siouxland community as a whole is what will keep the unit strong in the future.


"I have seen you at work and know the commitment and dedication you give on a daily basis I've seen you demonstrate integrity in your actions, service before self in your devotion to the daily mission and excellence in every task that you complete on behalf of the 185th, I am grateful for the experience and the opportunity to work with such outstanding individuals" said Christensen.

The change of command is a military tradition deeply rooted in history. Military organizations developed unique flags to signify the position of their leader. In the confusion of battle, their standard provided a guide for all to follow. Over time, these banners came to mean much more. They embodied the history of the organization, the dignity of command, and it's for victory. They were jealously and heroically guarded. Having this position of great importance, the flag was incorporated into the change of command ceremonies. The banner was exchanged in public to symbolize that the ultimate responsibility that comes with command had been passed to a new leader. For the 185th, the change of command ceremony marked the turning of page in the units history book, from one accomplished and dedicated leader, to another.

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