139th Airlift Wing Holds Ceremony for Change, Assumption of Command

Published 05/04 2014 04:52PM

Updated 05/05 2014 07:51AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) There are two men whose names are held high at the 139th Airlift Wing in St. Joseph - Col. Bobby Oates and Col. Ed Black.

On Sunday, both men were recognized with new titles at the Missouri Air National Guard.

"It's a great day for the wing," said Col. Ralph Schwader, 139th Airlift Wing Commander.

After working side by side for more than a year, Black and Oates are taking different routes.

Black, who was commander of the Advance Airlift Tactics Training Center, passed the torch down to Oates who was the former Vice Commander of the AATTC.

"It's a great responsibility, a great opportunity, and I'm really looking forward to it," said Oates.

Oates described it as a nerve-wrecking, yet exciting moment.

"The previous commander, Col. Edward Black, has done such an outstanding job that it's a tough act to follow," he said.

Black said he is confident Oates is the right man for the job.

"He was instantly accepted by the AATTC and has a vast level of knowledge that not a lot of folks around here have," said Col. Black. "I couldn't be more proud of Bobby Oates for taking the AATTC. He's going to do wonderful things."

Black went back to his roots and took command of the 139th Operations Group.

"I did a lot of growing up in the 139th Operations Group. That's where I started my flying career and it feels really good to come back home and be the commander of that group," he said.

It has been his dream he said to bring his past experiences to the new generation within the wing.

"Hopefully take some of the lessons that I've learned along the journey of being in a military organization to help mentor them," Black said.

Black and Oates may be on different paths but this is not the end for the pair. They plan to work together for many more years.

"A good display of unity and a good display of what's going to be coming. We're going to continue to work really well together," he said.

The Missouri Air National Guard's 139th Airlift Wing is comprised of about 1,100 airmen.

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