Pease maintenance group ushers in change of leadership

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Curtis J. Lenz
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing

Lt. Col. Paul M. Kell relinquished command of the 157th Maintenance Group to Lt. Col. Brian R. Jusseaume, during a change of command ceremony August 5, 2017.

The purpose of the change of command ceremony is to provide the outgoing commander an opportunity to bid farewell to the men and women of their command, and for the command, in turn, to welcome the incoming commander.

“This is an exciting time as you venture across the valley of transition while remaining focused on our future mission,” said Col. James P. Ryan, 157th Air Refueling Wing commander. “The challenges will be many, but I have total confidence that your leadership is well served, right here, right now to achieve success no matter the obstacle.”

Jusseaume came to the New Hampshire Air National Guard in 2009 as the director of personnel for the 157th Force Support Squadron and subsequently commanded the 157th FSS until recently. Kell accepted command of the 157th MXG in July 2015.

Ryan praised Kell for his leadership while at the helm of the 157th MXG. “Under your leadership, well over 2,800 sorties have been flown amassing more than 13,400 flying hours—last year achieving the second highest in wing history.”

Approximately 324 Total Force Airmen from 19 different specialties comprise the 157th MXG and provide maintenance to the Wing’s 60-year-old KC-135R Stratotankers supporting agile global reach, mobility and power.

Kell reflected on his tenure as maintenance group commander. “I’m going to miss the people”.

“It’s been an honor and privilege coming in everyday and spending quality time with the Airmen in the maintenances group,” he said.  “I’ve watched them accomplish great feats over the last two years and I’m just going to miss that daily interaction with them.”

A change in a leadership signals new responsibilities and a new role for Jusseaume.

“Taking on this new command makes me feel deeply humbled,” said Jusseaume. I’m humbled to be a small part of it and that leadership here would feel that I have the right skills to lead this organization.”

Jusseaume expressed his enthusiasm for the new leadership role.

“I look forward to meeting the men and women of the group,” he said. “I look forward to seeing them put their skills to work and getting in touch with the sustainment of the aircraft.

According to Jusseaume, the most challenging part of the new position will be the transition from the KC-135 mission and current deployment tempo while simultaneously transitioning to the KC-46.  

 “So whether you operate it or support it, these men and women have sustained our ability to do so,” said Jusseaume. “I will admit that they are a small, but important fish in a large pond but as we transition to the KC-46 over the next few years they will quickly become a big fish in a small pond. “And in that transition, these men and women will help preserve that strategic advantage for the U.S. Air Force for the next 50 if not 100 years.”

Ryan expressed his confidence in Jusseaume as the wing prepares for the arrival of the KC-46 in the near future.

 “With a proven track record of building winning teams and leading diverse groups, his talents will enable the Airmen of the maintenance group to successfully tackle the challenges we will face over the next few years,” said Ryan.