Family First

  • Published
  • By SrA Ashlyn Corriea
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing
Tucked in a corner of headquarters, is an office that has been home to Wing history.
The wing commanders office has been home to 4 wing commanders of the 157th Air Refueling Wing since the completion of the new headquarters building in 2010. This office is not only home to the wing commander but a place where memories of a long career of excellence are made and photos of loved ones offer a sense of comfort.

Col.  James P. Ryan, the outgoing wing commander of the 157th ARW, who relinquished command during a ceremony March 10, 2018, here, said he held close the family photo he had on his desk.

“[It was] the first thing I put in my office when I took over and the last thing I took down when I moved, said Ryan. “[It’s] a reminder of why I do what I do and a reminder despite the long days, they are always there for me.”

In his remarks during the change of command Ryan expressed his love for his time as the wing commander and having the opportunity to serve the Airmen of the wing.

“Everything is easy when you love what your apart of,” said Ryan when referencing his time here.

He concluded by articulating his pride for the Airmen of Pease and their dedication to service

“You bring out the best of America, with a deep sense of patriotism and courage to stand for something bigger, willing to sacrifice and help others, committed to a profession of arms, defending freedom and promoting peace. You are the heroes in the community and have built the legacy of selfless service,” said Ryan.

For his last official duty as wing commander Ryan officiated the change of command for the 157th Operations Group from Col John W. “Pogo” Pogorek to Lt. Col. Mark Henry “Uzi” Ustaszewski. 

With every new wing commander, comes a new philosophy, new goals and a new office. They bring something new to the table, decorating it with their memories.

Incoming wing commander Pogorek, is moving to the wing level after serving as the group commander for the 157th OG. With his new position comes a new office.

For him the important item in his new office is a picture of his children. He is the father of 5 children, one if which is serving in the 157th Medical Group.

During his address at the ceremony he felt it was important introduce his family to the wing. He mentioned that there has been Pogoreks all over the wing.

“I have actually served in 4 groups, because there has been a Pogorek in every one of these groups,” joked Pogorek. 

He is the 14th wing commander for the 157th ARW and will be a key person in the wing’s transition from the KC-135 Stratotanker to the KC-46 Pegasus. 

After assuming command of the wing, Pogorek made it a priority to bring forward all the wing commanders that came before him who were in attendance.

“It’s important to recognize in this case the men that come before us, and that is our wing commanders,” said Pogorek. “It’s really generations of excellence we’ve had in this wing and will continue to see.”  
Pogorek has had many assignments with the Air National Guard here at Pease, such as Operations Officer with the 133rd Air Refueling Squadron; Deputy Commander of the 157th Operations Group; Commander of the 157th Maintenance Group, just to name a few.

Retired Brig. Gen. Paul Hutchinson, former commander of the New Hampshire Air National Guard, who also served as the wing commander from 2010 to 2014, had remarks about Pogorek in his written announcement to the wing regarding the change in senior leadership.

“His accomplishments within the 157th Air Refueling Wing are numerous and impressive,” said Hutchinson. “His dedication to the New Hampshire Air National Guard and its members ensure that we will continue our long-standing culture of excellence.”