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145th Maintenance Group welcomes newly promoted commander

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Allan R. Cecil (center), deputy commander of the 145th Maintenance Group, has the rank of colonel pinned onto his uniform by his spouse and retired Brig. Gen. Fisk Outwater during a ceremony held in his honor at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Jan. 9, 2016. In 1977, at the rank of Master Sergeant, Cecil was commissioned as a weather officer. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Julianne M. Showalter/Released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Allan R. Cecil (center), deputy commander of the 145th Maintenance Group, has the rank of colonel pinned onto his uniform by his spouse and retired Brig. Gen. Fisk Outwater during a ceremony held in his honor at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Jan. 9, 2016. In 1977, at the rank of Master Sergeant, Cecil was commissioned as a weather officer. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Julianne M. Showalter/Released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Allan R. Cecil (center), deputy commander of the 145th Maintenance Group, his spouse, and retired Brig. Gen. Fisk Outwater, stand at attention during the reading of the promotion orders during a ceremony held in his honor at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Jan. 9, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Julianne M. Showalter /Released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Allan R. Cecil (center), deputy commander of the 145th Maintenance Group, his spouse, and retired Brig. Gen. Fisk Outwater, stand at attention during the reading of the promotion orders during a ceremony held in his honor at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Jan. 9, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Julianne M. Showalter /Released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Brian McCullough, commander of the 145th Maintenance Squadron, stands at attention during a Change of Command and promotion ceremony of Lt. Col. Allan Cecil held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Jan. 9, 2016. Cecil started his career as an Airman 1st Class working as a weather observer. He has served 31 years in the North Carolina Air National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Julianne M. Showalter /Released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Brian McCullough, commander of the 145th Maintenance Squadron, stands at attention during a Change of Command and promotion ceremony of Lt. Col. Allan Cecil held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Jan. 9, 2016. Cecil started his career as an Airman 1st Class working as a weather observer. He has served 31 years in the North Carolina Air National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Julianne M. Showalter /Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Marshall C. Collins (left), commander, 145th Airlift Wing, Col. Stephen Mallette (center), commander, 145th Maintenance Group (MXG), and Col. Allan R. Cecil (right), deputy commander, 145th MXG, stand at attention during the MXG Change of Command as Mallette relinquishes command to Cecil during a ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Jan. 9, 2016. Cecil is the first non-flying maintenance officer to hold the command position of the 145th Maintenance Group in the history of the North Carolina Air National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Julianne M. Showalter /Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Marshall C. Collins (left), commander, 145th Airlift Wing, Col. Stephen Mallette (center), commander, 145th Maintenance Group (MXG), and Col. Allan R. Cecil (right), deputy commander, 145th MXG, stand at attention during the MXG Change of Command as Mallette relinquishes command to Cecil during a ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Jan. 9, 2016. Cecil is the first non-flying maintenance officer to hold the command position of the 145th Maintenance Group in the history of the North Carolina Air National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Julianne M. Showalter /Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Marshall C. Collins, commander, 145th Airlift Wing, passes the unit guidon to Col. Allan R. Cecil signifying his assumption of command of the 145th Maintenance Group during a Change of Command ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Jan. 9, 2016. Cecil is the first non-flying maintenance officer to hold the position of commander of the 145th Maintenance Group in the history of the North Carolina Air National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Julianne M. Showalter /Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Marshall C. Collins, commander, 145th Airlift Wing, passes the unit guidon to Col. Allan R. Cecil signifying his assumption of command of the 145th Maintenance Group during a Change of Command ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Jan. 9, 2016. Cecil is the first non-flying maintenance officer to hold the position of commander of the 145th Maintenance Group in the history of the North Carolina Air National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Julianne M. Showalter /Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Allan R. Cecil, commander, 145th Maintenance Group, gives gratitude to family and friends during a promotion and change of command ceremony held in his honor at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Jan. 9, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Allan R. Cecil, commander, 145th Maintenance Group, gives gratitude to family and friends during a promotion and change of command ceremony held in his honor at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Jan. 9, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Allan R. Cecil, commander, 145th Maintenance Group, presents a bouquet of flowers to his spouse during his Change of Command and promotion ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Jan. 9, 2016. During his speech Cecil thanked his mentors and his spouse for their guidance throughout his career. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Julianne M. Showalter /Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Allan R. Cecil, commander, 145th Maintenance Group, presents a bouquet of flowers to his spouse during his Change of Command and promotion ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Jan. 9, 2016. During his speech Cecil thanked his mentors and his spouse for their guidance throughout his career. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Julianne M. Showalter /Released)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Airmen of the 145th Maintenance Group (MXG) gathered to observe the promotion of Lt. Col. Allan R. Cecil to the rank of colonel, as well as observe the passing of the guidon to signify the unit's Change of Command on Jan. 9, 2016.  Seating for the ceremony was overflowing as many crowded behind the audience and stood along the walls.

With 31 years of service, Col. Cecil started his career in the North Carolina Air National Guard as an Airman 1st Class in the 156th Weather Flight. Cecil felt honored to be promoted to the rank of Colonel. He attributed his success to those who invested time to mentor him along the way.

"I started as an enlisted member and became a Master Sergeant. I developed a strong foundation through mentorship and it's helped me understand some of the challenges Airmen face today," said Cecil.

Cecil was commissioned in 1997 and converted to a maintenance officer in 2005. In August of 2006 he became the commander of the 145th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

"I've been in maintenance longer than anywhere else. This is where my heart is," said Cecil.

After Cecil's promotion, Col. Stephen Mallette relinquished command of the 145th MXG to Col. Marshall C. Collins, commander of the 145th Airlift Wing, then Collins passed the guidon to Cecil signifying Cecil's assumption of command.

"Colonel Mallet has been a great commander and is an advocate for maintenance. He spoke up for the men and women in the group many times," said Collins.

Command of the 145th Maintenance Group is historically a flight officer, but Cecil is the first non-flying maintenance officer to hold the flag.

"Previous commanders have raised the bar and the Group has definitely benefited from their leadership. I feel excited and ready to take on this role," said Cecil.

Members of the 145th Airlift Wing and Maintenance Group rendered a salute to their new commander then gathered in a line after the ceremony that stretched the length of the hanger to congratulate Col. Cecil on his promotion and assumption of command.

"We're excited to have him as our new commander.  I think it's a good thing for us because he knows maintenance and his heart is in it," said Tech. Sgt. Irene Smith from the 145th Maintenance Operations Squadron.

Cecil plans to focus on adapting to change and a new generation of Airmen.

"I intend to continue my predecessor's great work by focusing on our people, executing the mission and developing a mindset of change," said Cecil.