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157th Medical Group gets New Commander

Col. John W. Pogorek passes a guidon to Col. John Mirabello on March 11, 2018, at Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H. Mirabello, the New Hampshire state air surgeon, assumed command of the 157th Medical Group. (N.H. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Ashlyn J. Correia)

Col. John W. Pogorek passes a guidon to Col. John Mirabello on March 11, 2018, at Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H. Mirabello, the New Hampshire state air surgeon, assumed command of the 157th Medical Group. (N.H. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Ashlyn J. Correia)

PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H. -- The 157th Medical Group, here, ushered in a new commander during an assumption of command ceremony on March 11, 2018, here.

Col. John Mirabello, the New Hampshire state air surgeon assumed command of the 157th MDG after serving as the interim commander since September of 2017, officially replacing retired Lt. Col. Fred Brennan. 

 “It’s a big day for this group and for John,” said Col. John W. Pogorek, the 157th Air Refueling Wing commander, gesturing toward Mirabello, who was seated with his family in the audience. “I believe it is long overdue.”

Pogorek described the medical group personnel as intelligent, skilled caregivers.

“You’re willing to serve in the worst conditions imaginable and you save lives,” said Pogorek.

He emphasized to Mirabello that command time is both an honor and responsibility.

“My advice to you is to keep this group challenged and engaged,” said Pogorek.

During his remarks, Mirabello discussed with the audience how the Air Force Core Values related to the MDG mission.

First, he asked the audience what the most important part of a plane was. They replied that the crew was. Mirabello elaborated how integrity played a key role in how the 157th MDG conducted thorough evaluations and screenings of the flight crew to ensure safe mission success.

Next, he touched on how participation in the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosive Enhanced Response Package (CERFP) team demonstrates excellence. CERFP provides search and extraction, decontamination, medical, and command and control capabilities to the governor, in the event of a related emergency situation.

Last, he explained the relevance of the AF core value of service before self.

“First you join the Guard,” said Mirabello. “Then it becomes part of you. It is my intent, starting now, to begin training the next commander who will follow me.”

He explained the importance of passing the torch through knowledge sharing and mentoring.

Every interaction with his Airmen will be a two-part discussion, he said. First, his focus will be on the immediate task at hand, then on their potential for the long term within the 157th MDG.

Prior to his new role, Mirabello was the Chief of Aerospace Medicine, where he served as a senior member of the Aerospace Medicine Counsel and supervised other flight surgeons. He is a full-time obstetrician on the civilian side.

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