Happy Hooligans welcome new Wing commander

  • Published
  • By Maj. Amber Schatz
  • 119th Wing
The 119th Wing, North Dakota Air National Guard, also known as the Happy Hooligans, welcomed its newest commander during a change of command ceremony today at Hector Air Base in Fargo.

Col. Darrin Anderson became the new wing commander during a ceremony held in the aircraft maintenance hangar. He assumes duties from Col. Britt Hatley, who has commanded since February 2017. Hatley’s next assignment is with the National Guard Bureau at the Pentagon.

Anderson is the first non-pilot to command the 119th Wing, which comes on the heels of another first when Hatley was the first commander who had not served in the unit previously.

Both Hatley and Anderson assignments as commander were firsts for the Happy Hooligans. Hatley transferred to the North Dakota Air Guard in 2016 with the intent of eventually assigning him as commander; whereas Anderson is the first non-pilot to command the 119th Wing.

“It is an honor to be here and witness the Change of Command ceremony, said Gov. Doug Burgum. “I want to express my gratitude to Col. Hatley for his outstanding leadership and wish him well in Washington D.C. Colonel Anderson is the right Airman for the job and will continue the tradition of excellence of the North Dakota Air National Guard.”

“With our current missions, Darrin’s many years of experience as an intelligence officer, coupled with his group-level command experience in both maintenance and intelligence, make him the right officer at the right time to lead the 119th Wing into the future,” said Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, North Dakota adjutant general.

Hatley is a 1995 distinguished graduate of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps from Louisiana Tech University. He 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 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 his current assignment, he served as Vice Commander of the 119th Wing.

Anderson began his career in the North Dakota Air National Guard in 1983 as an enlisted member of the 119th Security Forces Squadron. He was commissioned in 1995 as a second lieutenant intelligence officer supporting the 119th Fighter Wing and the 178th Fighter Squadron. In 2003, he transitioned to aircraft maintenance and held various positions supporting the flying missions of the F-16 Falcon, C-21 Lear Jet and MQ-1 Predator. In 2007, he assumed command of the 119th Maintenance Group. In 2013, he returned to his intelligence officer roots and was selected to lead the brand new 119th Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Group. Anderson is a graduate of North Dakota State University and earned a Master of Science degree from the Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

“I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to lead this incredible organization,” Anderson said. “I want to thank Colonel Hatley for his leadership and accomplishments during his time here. He stepped in and did a wonderful job carrying on the Hooligan tradition of excellence and I hope to do the same.”