NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION , N.Y. - Col. John Higgins assumes command of the New York Air National Guard's 107th Airlift Wing here on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 12. Members of the media are invited to attend. Col. Higgins will be available to speak with reporters prior to the ceremony.
WHO: New York Air National Guard Col. John Higgins, Major General Patrick Murphy, the Adjutant General of New York, Major General Verle Johnston, the commander of the New York Air National Guard, and the men and women of the 107th Airlift Wing.
WHAT: Assumption of command ceremony to mark the transition from Col. Jim McCready, who took command of the wing in January 2011, to Col. John Higgins, a Grand Island resident.
WHEN: The ceremony will take place at 3 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. Col. Higgins will speak with media members at 2:30 p.m.
Members of the press must be at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station no later than 2 p.m. for access to the event.
WHERE: Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, Niagara Falls, N.Y. , Lockport Road Gate
Interview with Col. John Higgins. Video and imagery of airmen in formation and the ceremony itself
COLONEL JOHN HIGGINS
New York Air National Guard Col. John Higgins, a master navigator with over 3,500 hours flying in the F-4 Phantom fighter , the F-111 bomber and the C-130 Hercules, will replace Col. Jim McCready as commander of the 107th Airlift Wing here on Saturday, Jan. 12.
Higgins, who has been vice xommander of the wing since August 2011, previously served as the Air National Guard adviser to the Air Force Special Operations Command and as Air National Guard Adviser for Air Force Strategic Planning.
"He joins one of the best units in the country; led and supported by a team of talented professionals," said Maj. Gen. Patrick Murphy, the adjutant general of New York.
During his tour at National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C. from 2002 to 2009, Higgins was responsible for all Air National Guard unit mission conversions and served as Deputy Division Chief overseeing the mobilization of over 35,000 Air National Guard personnel in the Global War on Terror.
As commander of the 107th Airlift Wing, Higgins will be responsible for the deployment and employment of over 800 assigned personnel and equipment ensuring these assets are available to support all state and national requirements.
Higgins holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Buffalo State College and a Masters degree from Troy State University, Ala.
Higgins was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1983 and served as a, F-111E "Aardvark" Instructor weapons system officer, Chief of Training, and Wing Plans Officer, for the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing, based a Royal Air Force Base Upper Heyford in Great Britain from 1987 to 1991 and served in the 914th Airlift Wing, at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station from 1991 to 1997.
He also served in the 8th Special Operations Squadron and Air Force Special Operations Headquarters at Hurlburt Field, Fla., from 1997 to 2001 and was a member of the 109th Airlift Wing in Scotia, N.Y., in 2001- 2002.
Higgins military schools include Air War College and Air Command and Staff College.
His awards include the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal ( five awards) , the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Antarctica Service medal, Aerial Achievement Medal (two awards), the Air Force Outstanding Unit with Valor Ribbon (three awards), the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and the Joint Service Achievement Medal.
He is a Western New York Native and currently resides in Grand Island with his wife Lisa.
THE 107th AIRLIFT WING
The New York Air National Guard's 107th Airlift Wing operates the C-130H2 Hercules cargo plane in partnership with the Air Force Reserve's 914th Airlift Wing. Since transition to the C-130 the men and women of the 107th have flown relief supplies to Haiti and dropped cargo by parachute to United States troops in Afghanistan.
The New York Air National Guard has had a presence at Niagara Falls Air Reserve station since 1946 when it was organized as the 107th Fighter Group flying P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bombers like those used in World War II.
The 107th Fighter Group flew a number of different and more complex aircraft until 1994 as an integral part of the defense of American air space and then as a tactical fighter wing, ready to deploy overseas. During the Vietnam War part of the unit served in Vietnam in 1968-69. Captain Joseph L'Hullier of the 136th Tactical Fighter Squadron was killed in action. He was the first Air Guardsman to die in combat since World War II.
In 1994 the 107th took on the mission of flying KC-135 refueling aircraft, a mission it conducted-- deploying Airmen to the Middle East regularly. In 2008 the unit took on the new mission of tactical airlift.
As members of the Air National Guard, the airmen of the 107th also respond regularly to emergencies and disasters here at home. During New York's response to Hurricane Sandy, 107th airmen provided assistance to residents in New York City and flew vitally needed relief supplies.
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