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Arkansas ANG command change

Col. Robert Ator Official Portrait

Col. Robert Ator Official Portrait

Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. -- Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. -- The 189th Airlift Wing recently received notice that Brig. Gen. Dwight D. Balch, the commander of the Arkansas Air National Guard, is retiring June 5, 2015.  Brig. Gen. Kurt Vogel from the National Guard Bureau office of Legislative Liaison will succeed Balch as Arkansas Air Guard commander.

Brig. Gen. Balch is one of our own. He is a member of our family who has served the state of Arkansas and the nation for over 35 years. During that time, the changes we have seen in aircraft, missions and, most importantly, culture are mind boggling!

We are all deeply in his debt for what he has given us both as a wing, and as individuals. He is, and will remain, an icon in our heritage. On a personal level, he has been my commander from the day I entered the 189th, and I'm personally indebted to him, especially considering the opportunities he has given me. In the coming months, we will ask the wing for help in honoring Brig. Gen. Balch for all he has done for us and the state.

Brig. Gen. Vogel is coming to us from the National Guard Bureau, where he has served as the legislative liaison for Gen. Frank J. Grass, the chief of the National Guard Bureau. His background is in KC-135 aircraft, but he has served in many different capacities at NGB. I first met Brig. Gen. Vogel when he worked in both the Air, Space and Logistics Operations directorate as well as the Plans and Requirements directorate, specifically on the Avionics Modernization Program (AMP).  He is a high-energy officer who is excited to come serve the Airmen of Arkansas. I will also be asking for your help in ensuring that Brig. Gen. Vogel has a smooth landing and is spun up on the wing's mission, and how we represent the best in the Air National Guard and the Air Force.

These are exciting times and I know that you will all join me in giving a heartfelt thank you to Brig. Gen. Balch for his incredible service, and a warm welcome to Brig. Gen. Vogel in joining us on the path we are blazing into the future. In the days ahead, we will do what we have always done: "We Lead!"