Maintenance commander promoted

Lt. Col. Christian Cunningham, 167th Maintenance Commander, was promoted to the rank of Colonel during a ceremony at the Martinsburg, W.Va. air base, Aug 6.  Pinning Col. Cunningham was his wife Narmada, his daughter Asha, his son Iain looks on. (U.S. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Dickson)

Lt. Col. Christian Cunningham, 167th Maintenance Commander, was promoted to the rank of Colonel during a ceremony at the Martinsburg, W.Va. air base, Aug 6. Pinning Col. Cunningham was his wife Narmada, his daughter Asha, his son Iain looks on. (U.S. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Dickson)

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The 167th Airlift Wing held a promotion ceremony for Col. Christian Cunningham, the 167th Maintenance Group Commander, August 6.

Cunningham, who was promoted to the rank of Colonel, assumed command of the Maintenance Group in May following the retirement of the group's previous commander, Col. Keith Snyder.

Prior to assuming command, Cunningham had previously served as the group's deputy commander and oversaw the day to day maintenance operations of the wing during the month.

According to Cunningham, his past experience serving as the deputy commander along with Snyder's mentorship has prepared him for his new command.

"Col. Snyder entrusted me to make a lot the day to day decisions out here since he was a traditional Guardsman," Cunningham said. "The fact that he gave me that room to make decisions certainly has helped me develop. His mentorship was invaluable to educating me in the maintenance processes."

According to Cunningham, he is honored by the trust that wing leadership has shown in him by elevating him to a group level commander and giving him the opportunity to lead.

For his part, Col. Shaun Perkowski, the 167th Airlift commander, could not think of a better person to lead the wing's Maintenance Group.

"Col Cunningham has a great balance of operational and institutional experience and is a natural fit for the 167th MXG commander," Perkowski said. "He returned to the wing from an ANGRC assignment during one of the most dynamic periods in the wing's and group's history; a complex conversion to the C-17 in the midst of the group down-sizing. His leadership was critical as we navigated those challenging waters and I know he has the trust of his subordinates, fellow commanders, and wing and state leadership."

Cunningham, who has more than 30 years of service in the Air Force, said he is extremely excited and can't say enough about the outstanding personnel in the Maintenance Group.

"The people here are exceptional," Cunningham said. "The most impressive thing to me when I first came into maintenance three years ago was the quality of the people. I have always said and will always say that we have something special here in Martinsburg."