• Published
  • By Maj. Jennifer Piggott
  • 144th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force Col. Steven Early took command of the 144th Operations Group from Col. John York during a change of command ceremony Jan. 10, 2016.

Col. Clay Garrison, 144th Fighter Wing commander, presided over the change of command ceremony, which is a historical military ceremony which marks the orderly transfer of responsibility and authority from one commander to another.  In his opening remarks, Garrison thanked the outgoing commander, Col. York, and provided a vision for the new commander, Col. Early.

"Col. York was hired to make the 144th Operations Group an F-15 Group and his strategic vision made that happen," Garrison said.  "The Operations Group is on the cusp of greatness and Col. Early will make us an operational F-15 wing."

After the change of command, Col. Early addressed the 144th OG and other wing members, where he expressed his desire to continue on the great path already established.  "My role is to take us to the next step and project combat airpower down range.  We are warriors and we are elite.  We are community-based Guardsmen and we are empowered.  We are now globally engaged and we will win," Early said. 

Early comes to the 144th OG from Washington, D.C., where he recently served as Chief of the Strategy and Analysis Division for the Strategic Plans and Programs Directorate, National Guard Bureau. Here he was responsible for crafting, synthesizing, and integrating national-level strategy, policy and analysis for Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force senior leaders affecting more than 105,000 Guard members.

"What this wing has done in the past two years is unprecedented in the modern Air Force.  We are on a steep vector and I know that Col. Early will keep us moving in the right direction," Garrison concluded.