MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. - Colonel Mike Hudson assumed command of the South Carolina Air National Guard's 169th Fighter Wing during a change of command triple-header Saturday.
The ceremony also marked Lt. Col. Linda Keck's assumption of command of the 169th Mission Support Group. Her predecessor Colonel Calvin Elam recently was selected to succeed Brigadier General Grady L. Patterson III as South Carolina's assistant adjutant general for Air. Keck's former post as deputy commander of the 169th MSG now will be filled by Lieutenant Colonel Rita Whitmire, who relinquished command of the 169th Security Forces Squadron to Lieutenant Colonel Paul Laymon.
Major General Robert E. Livingston, Jr., the state's adjutant general, presided over the ceremony.
Hudson was promoted from the position of wing vice commander. He is a former commander of the 169th Operations Group and 157th Fighter Squadron, and a combat pilot with nearly 100 combat missions in Operations Desert Storm, Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
He succeeds Brigadier General Scott Williams, who guided the wing through a four-year period of extraordinary growth and accomplishments. In fact, Hudson's remarks focused largely on his predecessor's accomplishments. He shared a long list of the general's achievements, which included leading the wing through an historic 120-day stand-alone AEF and excellent performances during intense Operational Readiness and Unit Compliance Inspections, guiding the steady evolution of the Active Association, spearheading a surge in recruiting and creating the vision for the first-ever Air-Ground Expo and South Carolina Military and Family Appreciation Day.
"I obviously have some big shoes to fill," Hudson said after accepting command of the wing. "But I have my own boots and I'm going to walk in them and do the best I can to build on General Williams' success." Hudson also said he would continue the long-term mission of putting F-35s on the McEntire ramp.
Williams has been elevated to the South Carolina National Guard state staff as director of the Joint Staff under General Livingston. During January's ceremony, he thanked the Swamp Foxes for "responding and stepping up to every challenge we put in front of you." He said, "This wing is second to none, and it's because none of you – traditional, Active Duty, AGR, technician, state employee – accept average or mediocrity. I'm confident you'll continue to set the highest standards for the rest of the Combat Air Force."
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Generals Williams and Patterson and Colonels Hudson and Elam also received Legion of Merit medals for their leadership and accomplishments over the past several years.
In his closing remarks, Livingston applauded the accomplishments of the SCANG and said the remarkable achievements of the organization are a direct reflection on the leadership provided by Generals Williams and Patterson. He also thanked the spouses and families of all SCANG leaders and SCANG Airmen, emphasizing the importance and necessity of family support to the success of the individual member and the organization.