Air Wing Gains New Leadership
By Master Sgt. Steve Wilkins, 145th Public Affairs
/ Published October 25, 2012
Charlotte, N.C. -- North Carolina National Guard's top senior military leaders were on hand to usher in a new era of leadership for its air operations. Maj. Gen. Gregory A. Lusk, The Adjutant General, North Carolina National Guard, presided over an assumption of command ceremony at the North Carolina Air National Guard base at Charlotte Douglas International Airport as Col. Roger E. Williams, Jr., took the reins of command for the 145th Airlift Wing, held for the last eight years by Brig. Gen. Tony E. McMillan.
Gen. McMillan was already transitioning to a new position of military leadership in the state and was unable to attend the ceremony. McMillan is expected to use his new role contributing his vision and leadership in ways that will continue to enhance airman performance and well being throughout the state.
In ceremony comments directed toward Col. Williams, Gen. Lusk said "I can't think of an organization more deserving of a quality leader like yourself." Lusk continued to lavish praise on the accomplishments of Col. Williams and the 145th AW and concluded with unqualified support for Williams, stating, "I've got your back."
As Wing Commander, Col. Williams will provide leadership and management to the assigned flying, logistics and support units that provide manpower, equipment and training in peacetime, in preparation to perform the wartime mission. He is responsible for the formulation, presentation and execution of an allocated multi-million-dollar budget involving several major force elements and state funds. Through subordinate commanders, he plans, organizes, directs and controls the flying mission, maintenance and protection of assigned C130H aircraft, the acquisition, construction and maintenance of real property and the recruitment, training, supply and care of assigned personnel.
Col. Williams was commissioned in 1985 and attended Air Force pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. Colonel Williams earned his pilot's wings in 1986 and remained at Laughlin as a pilot instructor. He joined the North Carolina Air National Guard in 2001. Col. Williams is a command pilot with over 5,600 hours of military flying time in T-37, T-38, C-130E, L-382, HC-130P, MC-130P, and C-130H3 aircraft.
Prior to his assignment in Charlotte, Col. Williams served as an Aircraft Commander, Instructor Pilot, Group Executive Officer, Chief of Safety, Evaluator, and Assistant Operations Officer while assigned to operations in Laughlin AFB, Texas, Alconbury England, and Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. Since arriving in North Carolina, he held leadership positions including: Instructor Pilot, Chief of Tactics, Operations Officer and Commander of the 156th Airlift Squadron, 145th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Commander and 145th Operations Group Commander.
He has participated in several deployments in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and was the 455th Operations Group Deputy Commander in Bagram Afghanistan in 2008.
In assuming command of the unit, Col. Williams recognized the leadership and mentorship of both Wing Commander McMillan and former Vice Wing Commander James Lott, whom he acknowledged as a mentor. He declared McMillan had developed a world class organization that "I am incredibly proud to be a part of," but also an organization that feels comfortable as home, as he drives through the front gate each day. Col. Williams said the unit owes a great deal to its airmen, as well as their employers in the civilian community for their sacrifice and devotion to mission accomplishment. In closing, he assured Gen. Lusk that the 145th Airlift Wing is "Always ready and always there."