Change of Command Ceremony held at 167th Airlift Wing

Col. Shaun Perkowski, left, incoming commander for the 167th Airlift Wing, renders his first official salute as commander during the change of command ceremony, Nov. 15. Outgoing commander, Col. Roger Nye, right, is retiring after 35 years of service, the last six of which he served as commander of the 167AW. (Air National Guard photo by: Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle)

Col. Shaun Perkowski, left, incoming commander for the 167th Airlift Wing, renders his first official salute as commander during the change of command ceremony, Nov. 15. Outgoing commander, Col. Roger Nye, right, is retiring after 35 years of service, the last six of which he served as commander of the 167AW. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle)

MARTINSBURG -- Col. Shaun J. Perkowski assumed command of the West Virginia Air National Guard's 167th Airlift Wing from Col. Roger L. Nye during a ceremony Nov. 15.

Maj. Gen. James A. Hoyer, adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard, oversaw the Change of Command Ceremony and lauded the level of professionalism that the 167th Airmen display on a daily basis.

"You've held true to the traditions of the West Virginia National Guard that date back to 1735," Hoyer told wing Airmen gathered in formation for the ceremony.

He asked Perkowski and Col. David V. Cochran, the wing's new vice commander, to stay focused on maintaining high standards within the 167th Airlift Wing.

"Every second of every minute of every hour of every day I want you to stay focused on reinforcing standards and values. Doing that in large part by leading by example," Hoyer said.

Adding: "Above all we are trusting you with the most significant responsibility of taking care of all these men and women in this formation out here. I have full confidence in your ability to do that."

Both Perkowski and Cochran earned their commissions from the United States Air Force Academy in 1989. Prior to being selected as the vice wing commander in March, 2012, Perkowski served as commander of the 167th Airlift Squadron. Cochran was selected as the wing's vice commander in October and previously served as the logistics commander for the 167th Maintenance Group.

Nye, who was appointed the wing's commander in July 2007, is retiring after 35 years of service with the West Virginia Air National Guard.

"Six years ago I stood before this wing feeling honored and excited about the challenges ahead," Nye said. "We were in the beginning of a conversion to C-5s with great growth and construction all around us."

"We were a wing of warriors having proven ourselves so in numerous deployments from virtually every group and squadron," he said.

Nye said although there have been many changes, the wing's Airmen have remained steadfast and resolved. He noted the men and women who comprise the wing are its "heart and soul."

"This great wing has always had an ethos of professionalism, excellence, service, pride and friendship," he said.

Adding: "It's instilled in you and shines through you in every corner of the world. You shine your Mountaineer Pride worldwide and I know that it will continue."

Nye said Perkowski "is well prepared for the exciting, challenging times ahead."

Adding: "I wish him and all of you all the best as you move the 167th Airlift Wing into the future."

Perkowski thanked Nye for his strong stewardship of the wing.

"Col. Nye cares deeply for all of us and I know we are a more capable unit for it," Perkowski said. "I wish you and your family the best and Godspeed."

The new commander said the wing's Airmen "are the epitome of what is good in this country."

"You understand service and sacrifice," he said. "You understand that those outside of this organization look at you with admiration and respect. You are held to a higher standard and you should be. You are entrusted with the defense of this nation."

Perkowski said the Airmen's work is "important, respected and expected."

"You are the wing's greatest resource and I am proud to be its commander," he added.