Redhawks Welcome a New Commander

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Brandon Boyd
  • 142nd FW Public Affairs
PORTLAND AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Portland, Ore.-- Oregon Air National Guard Col. Richard W. Wedan, former 142nd Fighter Wing vice commander, assumed command of the 142nd Fighter wing from Col. Michael E. Stencel during a change of command ceremony Dec. 2.

The wing's colors were passed to Wedan during the ceremony, heavy with the responsibility and significance of leading the storied group called the Redhawks.

In his previous role as the vice wing commander, Wedan assisted in leading over 1,000 personnel in the execution of the F-15 aerospace control alert mission defending the Pacific Northwest, worldwide deployments, and domestic operations. The supporting role now becomes the leading role.

The outgoing commander thanked his family for their support during his tenure and the distinguished guests for attending the ceremony. Stencel also addressed the members of the 142nd in attendance, thanking them for their contributions, leadership and sacrifices that helped the wing achieve each mission.

During the ceremony, Wedan thanked Stencel in turn, for his leadership and tireless work ethic.

"Mike, you are truly a great man of tremendous character," said Wedan.

As wing commander, Wedan will oversee the 142nd Fighter Wing just as Airmen prepare for an upcoming Combined Unit Exercise (CUE) scheduled for July, 2012. During the ceremony, Wedan laid out a four-point leadership plan for the future of the 142nd Fighter Wing focusing on the homeland defense mission, base facilities, community engagement, recruitment and retention.

"I challenge you to embrace the endeavor through your whole-hearted contribution and best efforts," said Wedan.

Wedan enlisted in the Minnesota Air National Guard in 1988 as a command post controller with the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, Minn., attended undergraduate pilot training at Vance Air Force Base, and received his initial F-16 training at Kingsley Field, in Klamath Falls, Ore., in 1991.

In 1997, Wedan returned to Oregon as an instructor pilot with the 173rd Fighter Wing at Kingsley Field, where he served for 12 years prior to being assigned to Oregon's Joint Force Headquarters for three years as the director of operations.