Story by Capt. Rebecca Solosabal
A new commander took lead of the Idaho Air National Guard’s 124th Fighter Wing during a change of command ceremony May 5, 2019, at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho. Col. Shannon Smith accepted accountability of the wing in front of guardsmen, community leaders, family and friends.
“I am truly humbled and honored to stand here before you today, and I thank you for sharing in this moment,” said Smith, as he addressed Airmen as their new commander. “Your presence here today is witness to the service and sacrifice of our Idaho guardsmen and their families.”
Smith assumed command of the 124th FW from Col. Tim Donnellan, who had led the wing since 2015 and has been selected to serve as the Idaho ANG chief of staff within the Idaho Military Division.
Brig. Gen. Michael Nolan, assistant adjutant general–air, Idaho Air National Guard, presided over the ceremony and, with the guidon, symbolically passed leadership responsibility of the wing from Donnellan to Smith.
“Col. Donnellan, my hat’s off to you; you are a man of action and your words count,” said Smith. “My sincere gratitude for your service and your devotion to our mission and our Airmen, and I commit to uphold the standard you have so vividly set.”
With 27 years of military service, 17 of which were in Idaho, Smith comes with an abundance of command experience. Prior to his current role, Smith served as the 124th Operations Group commander, and before that as the 124th Maintenance Group commander. He also previously deployed to Operation ENDURING FREEDOM as deputy commander, 455th Expeditionary Operations Group, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.
“Airmen of the 124th Fighter Wing, as you well know, we are always on mission,” said Smith. “This fighter wing is at the tip of the spear, and that is exactly where we belong.”
Both commanders touted the readiness and accomplishments of the wing. Donnellan highlighted the “heroic” effort of the wing’s Airmen over the last four years as they executed the largest deployment in IDANG history and strengthened community ties at home. Smith reminded the wing of Airmen who are currently deployed in various theaters throughout the world, and that readiness, partnerships and innovation would be essential to future operations already on the horizon.
As he addressed his new wing, Smith emphasized the uniqueness and importance of the Guard members as citizen Airmen. Smith said, “We are who we are by design, and we will not apologize for that. Our nation needs the Guard now more than ever.”
“I would choose no other team, at no other time than here today with you,” he said. “Go Guard! Attack!”