Pirak assumes command of the 142nd Fighter Wing

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Brandon Boyd
  • 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Colonel Duke A. Pirak assumed command of the 142nd Fighter Wing during a change of command ceremony held here Nov. 6.

Pirak assumed command from Col. Paul T. Fitzgerald who retired from the Oregon Air National Guard following the change of command ceremony today.

Major General Michael E. Stencel, The Adjutant General for the State of Oregon, was present to officiate the ceremony. Stencel praised Fitzgerald for his leadership qualities and willingness to serve.

"I can honestly say, I haven't worked with a more selfless leader," said Stencel. "Whatever we have asked of him, whether stepping out of the cockpit, or taking a tour to the National Guard Bureau, he has willingly taken it on."

As Stencel gave his remarks during the ceremony he brought up the readiness of Pirak to assume command.

"Colonel Pirak brings an enviable appreciation for the pulse of a fighter wing and its role in our Air Force," said Stencel. "The Airmen of the 142nd Fighter Wing will be in great hands."

As he relinquished command, Fitzgerald took a moment to highlight what the experience as commander of the 142nd Fighter Wing meant to him.

"Command of this wing, its many operational missions, its legacy of excellence and its fantastic people, well, I'll remember this for the rest of my life," said Fitzgerald.

When the incoming commander, Pirak, was then given the opportunity to speak, he addressed the men and women of the 142nd Fighter Wing.

"It's truly our collective leadership that will ensure the success of our mission," said Pirak.

Pirak has served as the 154th Wing Vice commander and the 154th Operations Group commander, Hawaii Air National Guard, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. His most recent assignment was as Special Assistant to the commander, Air National Guard Readiness Center, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

A previous member of the Oregon Air National Guard, Pirak addressed the audience and said "it's good to be home."