166th Airlift Wing receives new commander

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Nathan Bright
  • 166th Airlift Wing


U.S. Air Force Colonel Carla D. Riner assumed command of the 166th Airlift Wing during a ceremony held here, April 6, 2019. Riner previously served as Special Assistant to the Adjutant General for Air at the West Virginia National Guard Headquarters.

Riner is a senior pilot with almost 3,000 hours in the C-130H3, including 121 combat and combat support sorties. She started her Air Force career in 1993 as a pilot select at the 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg, West Virginia. After completing pilot training at Vance AFB in 1997, she served as a C-130 pilot in tactical airlift operations worldwide. Her flight experience includes Operations Joint Forge, Coronet Oak, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom.

She also holds a juris doctorate degree, and has worked as a civilian airline flight attendant and pilot, an Air National Guard maintenance officer, and deputy chief operating officer at the National Archives.

“Carla brings a diverse background,” said Brig. Gen. Wendy Wenke, the Assistant Adjutant General, Air. “Today she makes history as she becomes the first female (166th Airlift) wing commander. But, that’s not why she was selected. She was selected because when we interviewed her she exuded authenticity, and in Delaware that matters.”

Col. Carla Riner, the new wing commander for the 166th Airlift Wing, addresses the audience after assuming command April 6th, 2019 at the Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Delaware. Riner's previous assignment was with the West Virginia National Guard, and is the first female wing commander for the 166th AW.

As the 166th Airlift Wing commander, Riner is responsible for the health and welfare of nearly 1,100 Airmen, civilian employees and family members. In addition, she oversees eight combat-ready C-130H tactical airlift planes, crews and associated combat support for global engagement and deployment.

Riner spoke of the necessity of teamwork at all levels. “We can’t do this mission without every single workforce on this base and throughout this military,” she said, referring to the officers, senior enlisted and junior enlisted in the various units on base.

“My commander’s intent will be to make Delaware the premier National Guard C-130 wing. One hundred percent ready, fit to fight, the first state will be the first in line to go” said Riner.