Wing change of command ceremony Saturday afternoon for Delaware Air National Guard

Release Number: 030512


The 166th Airlift Wing, Delaware Air National Guard, located at the New Castle ANG Base, Del., will conduct a change of command ceremony Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. The event will be held in the unit's new state of the art hangar located on the base (2600 Spruance Drive, New Castle, DE 19720) during the unit's monthly drill.

Brigadier General Carol A. Timmons, the Assistant Adjutant General for Air, Delaware National Guard, will be the presiding official.

Current 166th Airlift Wing Commander Col. Jonathan H. Groff will relinquish command to Col. Michael J. Feeley, who will assume command of the 166th AW.

During the ceremony two special presentations will occur. First, the 166th AW will be honored as the recipient of the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. Additionally, two technical sergeants, each an explosive ordinance disposal technician, will each receive the Bronze Star Medal for their performance while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Details for each are noted below.

Colonel Groff, the outgoing commander, has led the wing since October 2007. He spent the last 32 years of his 36 year military career with the 166th AW in numerous leadership positions to include the wing chief of safety where he was a distinguished graduate from the Flight Safety Officer course, University of Southern California, at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. Col. Groff served as the deployed director of operations during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom for a combined combat squadron of C-130 units at three deployed locations to include duties conducted within the largest ever deployed C-130 wing in the history of the U.S. Air Force. He also deployed as the mission commander responsible for all deployed 166th AW personnel in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Col. Groff is a command pilot with over 6,350 hours of military flight time including combat hours in Operation Desert Storm, the Balkans conflict, and Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He will be retiring this fall.

Colonel Groff is a resident of Downingtown, Pa. where he resides with his wife Sandy and son Tyler.

"Colonel Groff and his family have given so much to the men and women of the Delaware Air National Guard, I am truly honored to have served with him and cannot thank him enough for the contributions that he has made to make this wing the best it could be," said Gen. Timmons.

Colonel Feeley moves from his position as the Commander of the 166th Operations Group to the leader of the wing. Col. Feeley has gained vast experience from his leadership roles at the 166th AW and has deployed nine times to Southwest Asia in support of Operations Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. His most recent deployment was as deputy commander, 455th Expeditionary Operations Group, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Col. Feeley has 5,500 flying hours, including over 400 combat hours in Operations Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Colonel Feeley, a Media, Pa. resident, will accept command in front of the men and women of the Delaware ANG and his family including his wife Karen, daughter Laura and son Michael.

General Timmons said, "Col. Feeley has the knowledge, experience and leadership skills to continue the outstanding work of Col. Groff and move the 166th Airlift Wing forward to meet any new challenges."

The 166th Airlift Wing Air Force Outstanding Unit Award is for exceptionally meritorious service for the two year period from November 1, 2009 to October 31, 2011, and recognizes the accomplishments of the wing for deploying over 620 volunteers to Afghanistan, Antarctica, Iraq, Germany and other various locations around the globe in support of overseas contingency operations to include Operations Coronet Oak, Enduring Freedom, Joint Forge, New Dawn, Senior Scout and Arctic Vengeance and in support of humanitarian relief efforts.

Technical Sgt. David Gazzara of Egg Harbor City, N.J. and Tech. Sgt. Aaron Sweeney of Landover, Md, explosive ordinance disposal technicians in the 166th Explosive Ordinance Disposal Flight, will each receive the Bronze Star Medal for their exceptional performance as team leaders while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Bronze Star Medal is the United States Armed Forces fourth-highest combat award.

This release is in the public domain, and any part may be used as written.

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MEDIA CONTACT:


Contact Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Matwey, Public Affairs Specialist, Delaware Air National Guard, at 302-593-2126 (cell) for further information and to request access to the base.

News media with proper personal and organizational identification are invited; please arrive as early as 1:15 p.m., but no later than 1:45 p.m. This release and related high-resolution downloadable biographies and photos are available on www.166aw.ang.af.mil.

Colonel Groff's biography and photo: http://www.166aw.ang.af.mil/resources/biographies/bio.asp?id=11292.

Colonel's Groff's photo: http://www.166aw.ang.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/080824-F-9878S-003.jpg

Colonel Feeley's biography and photo: http://www.166aw.ang.af.mil/resources/biographies/bio.asp?bioID=15594

Colonel Feeley's photo: http://www.166aw.ang.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/090311-F-8668D-017b.jpg

High-resolution photos of the ceremony will become available online Monday at www.166aw.ang.af.mil, and at www.facebook.com/166thAirliftWing.