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New wing commander knows base

Col. Brian Newberry, right, stands with Col. Paul Guemmer as they exchange command of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing on Monday at Fairchild Air Force Base. (Tyler Tjomsland)
Col. Brian Newberry, right, stands with Col. Paul Guemmer as they exchange command of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing on Monday at Fairchild Air Force Base. (Tyler Tjomsland)

Newberry worked with airmen from Fairchild in Kyrgyzstan

Many salutes were rendered at a ceremony Monday ushering in a new wing commander at Fairchild Air Force Base.

Col. Brian Newberry took over command of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing, replacing outgoing Col. Paul Guemmer.

Newberry is familiar with Fairchild’s mission. He spent a yearlong deployment to the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, where he served as the 376th Expeditionary Operations Group commander.

“One year ago, I was deployed overseas with many members of team Fairchild, fueling the fight overhead Afghanistan from Manas, Kyrgyzstan,” Newberry said. “Little did I know, a year later I would be standing before you in a different capacity. I am blessed to walk into command having already worked with Fairchild’s finest overseas.”

Newberry, a 1991 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, was a C-17A Globemaster evaluator pilot and has flown missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prior to his assignment in Manas, he was an Air Force National Defense fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

Brig. Gen. Lawrence Martin Jr., vice commander of the 18th Air Force, Scott Air Force Base, said Newberry has a “tremendous record of excellence.”

“He is a phenomenal commander, a gifted leader, who will have a decisive, positive impact on this base and community,” Martin said. “Team Fairchild can be ready to welcome a visionary leader and talented officer.”

Newberry has logged 4,200 hours, including more than 400 combat hours, in the C-17, KC-135 and other aircraft, he said. Newberry is joined by his wife, Jill, and sons, Mark and Matthew.

Change of command occurs about every two years. Hundreds of military personnel, civilians and civic leaders from around the state attended the ceremony.

Guemmer will be assigned to the U.S. Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base, in Illinois.

A 1988 graduate of the Reserve Officer Training program, he has held assignments as an aircraft commander, instructor and examiner pilot, and has commanded at the squadron level, among many other duties.

“Thanks to your extraordinary leadership, professionalism and dedication to the amazing airmen before us today, the 92nd has continued a proud legacy of excellence,” Martin said, addressing Guemmer. “Your commitment to your airmen and your mission has had a huge global impact and as a result, the men and women of the 92nd have truly extended America’s global reach, fueled the fight, saved lives and delivered hope.”

It was a busy two years for the outgoing Guemmer.

He led Fairchild through the $43 million renovation of its runway and the first congressional military family caucus in Washington, D.C. He also helped Fairchild airmen earn the 2011 Air Mobility Rodeo Best Refueling Team and garnered funding for a new fitness center. During his tenure, he oversaw the base during operations supporting U.S. and coalition forces in missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Japan.

“We have fulfilled our commitment of this nation and you met my expectation for complete professionalism and complete dedication to getting the mission done right, safely and by the book,” Guemmer said. “I stand before you a wing commander humbled by your success and proud to be a part of this incredible team.”