157 ARW changes command

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Col. Shawn "Rob" Burrus took command of the 157th Air Refueling Wing from Col. Paul Hutchinson during a wing change of command ceremony Oct. 5 in Hangar 254.

The wing celebrated four change of command ceremonies at the squadron level and one change of command at the group level before the wing change of command ceremony capped the three day duty weekend.

"Command is the most sacred of responsibilities of any military leader, past, present and future, and those aspiring to command must become worthy of this work," said Brig. Gen. Carolyn Protzmann, deputy adjutant general and Air National Guard commander. "This weekend we have witnessed many of those celebrations, of past and future leaders taking command with vigor ... and leaving command in reflection and with the satisfaction as having succeeded as great leaders."

During Burrus' speech to the more than 1,100 members in formation, the new commander acknowledged how fortunate he is to lead them.

"I ask you to continue executing our current assigned mission at the highest levels that is expected from our warfighters," said Burrus.

Burrus said one of his goals as incoming commander is to ensure the unit remains poised to receive the KC-46A Pegasus in 2018.

"I'd ask you to continue preparing for the arrival of the KC-46A," he said.

Both the new and former commanders agreed that the wing's successes are made possible by its most valuable resource--its people.

"I am always humbled and in awe of standing in front of the wing," said Hutchinson. "As I reflect on the past five years, one thing is abundantly clear; it is the Airmen whom I owe the greatest degree of appreciation. It is you the Airmen who deserve all the credit for our successes."

Burrus, a 1991 graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, comes to the position after serving as the commander of the 157th Operations Group here. Burrus is a senior pilot with more than 4,500 flight hours; he has flown the T-37, T-38 and the KC-135/R aircraft during his military career and the B-767, B-757, A-320, B-737, and B-727.

The New Hampshire Adjutant General Maj. Gen. William N. Reddel III presided over the ceremony.

Protzmann presented Hutchinson the Legion of Merit, awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct. Hutchinson, who took command of the wing in January 2010, will become Protzmann's chief of staff for the New Hampshire Air National Guard.

During his tenure as commander, the wing has excelled in total force integration and was selected as the main operating base for the Air Force's first Air National Guard-led KC-46A Pegasus. In addition, the wing was selected twice as an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award recipient.

In selecting Pease to receive the KC-46A, officials analyzed operational considerations, installation attributes, economic, and environmental factors for each location before making a final basing decision. Subsequent KC-46 basing decisions will use similar criteria.

The first aircraft are scheduled to arrive at Pease ANGB beginning in fiscal year 2018. The formal training unit and first main operating base will begin receiving aircraft in fiscal year 2016.

The KC-46A will provide improved capability, including boom and drogue refueling on the same sortie, world-wide navigation and communication, airlift capability on the entire main deck floor, receiver air refueling, improved force protection and survivability, and multi-point air refueling capability.

The 157 ARW is responsible today for providing aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force. This unique asset enhances the Air Force's capability to accomplish its primary mission of global reach. The wing is responsible for providing refueling support to Air Force, Navy, Marine and allied nation aircraft. The KC-135 is also capable of transporting litter and ambulatory patients using patient support pallets during aeromedical evacuations.