119th Wing, Fargo, ND --
FARGO, N.D. – The 119th Wing, North Dakota Air National Guard welcomed their new 119th Wing commander during a change of command ceremony on Feb. 4.
Col. Thomas (Britt) Hatley assumed the duties as the 119th Wing commander from Col. Kent Olson, who has served in the position since 2013 and will soon retire with more than 36 years of service in the N.D. Air National Guard.
"I want to thank Colonel Kent Olson for his service and dedication. In his four years as wing commander, the Happy Hooligans won the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award each year," said Maj. Gen. Alan Dohrmann, North Dakota adjutant general. "He would tell you that it was the Airmen that won that award and he’s not wrong, but we also know it was his outstanding leadership that elevated the wing to a prestigious level."
"Kent has effectively led the unit through insurmountable change. He encouraged innovation and that has kept the 119th Wing at the very tip of the spear not only for the Air National Guard, but the entire Air Force," added Dohrmann.
As members of the 119th Wing said goodbye to their distinguished leader, Dohrmann introduced the new commander and welcomed him in his new role.
"This is the first time a non-native Hooligan will lead the 119th Wing. Bringing talented officers and senior enlisted leaders from outside a state is becoming more common as we have transitioned to a full partner in the operational Air Force, as opposed the Air National Guard's former role as a strategic reserve. Colonel Hatley's vast experience at both the state and national levels in the Air National Guard, in addition to his Joint experience, make him a leader that will successfully take the North Dakota Air National Guard into the future. " said Dohrmann.
Hatley has served in various flying and staff assignments, to include the Joint Staff as the Department of Defense Liaison to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. His experience in the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber includes tours in Air Combat Command, Pacific Air Forces, and Air Force Global Strike Command where he led the 110th Bomb Squadron to a historic first as the first Air National Guard bomb squadron certified in both nuclear and conventional operations. Hatley is a graduate of the United States Air Force Weapons School, the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, and the National War College. Prior to assuming command, he served as vice commander of the 119th Wing.
"To the men and women of the 119th Wing, I am humbled and awed to be part of such an outstanding organization…the depth of the family connectedness here is something rarely seen anywhere else. I am honored to be part of the Hooligan family," said Hatley.
The change of command ceremony is a time honored military tradition dating back to the 18th century. During the ceremony, the unit flag is passed to the individual assuming the command. This gesture was accomplished in front of an audience of 119th Wing airmen, family members, and distinguished senior military leaders and civilian guests.
For more information about this news release, please contact Maj. Penny Ripperger, 119th Wing Public Affairs Officer at 701-212-8710.
The North Dakota National Guard is a trained and highly motivated force of about 4,000 Citizen-Soldiers and Citizen-Airmen. We are always prepared to provide ready units, individuals and equipment in support of our communities, state and nation. Always ready, always there.