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145th Operations Group observes promotion and change of command

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Joseph H. Stepp IV, is pinned to the rank of colonel during a promotion ceremony held in his honor at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, June 6, 2015. Stepp’s father and wife had the honor of removing the oak-leafed, lieutenant colonel rank from his uniform and replacing it with an eagle with outstretched wings – the insignia for colonel. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Joseph H. Stepp IV, is pinned to the rank of colonel during a promotion ceremony held in his honor at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, June 6, 2015. Stepp’s father and wife had the honor of removing the oak-leafed, lieutenant colonel rank from his uniform and replacing it with an eagle with outstretched wings – the insignia for colonel. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Joseph H. Stepp IV, assisted mother, wife and daughters as they attached Stepp’s epaulets with his new rank of Colonel during a promotion ceremony held in his honor at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, June 6, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Joseph H. Stepp IV, assisted mother, wife and daughters as they attached Stepp’s epaulets with his new rank of Colonel during a promotion ceremony held in his honor at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, June 6, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Marshall C. Collins, commander, 145th Airlift Wing, officiates over a promotion ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, as Col. Joseph H. Stepp IV, recites the oath of office following his pinning to the rank of Colonel, June, 6, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Marshall C. Collins, commander, 145th Airlift Wing, officiates over a promotion ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, as Col. Joseph H. Stepp IV, recites the oath of office following his pinning to the rank of Colonel, June, 6, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Charles D. Davis III congratulates Col. Joseph H. Stepp IV, commander, 145th Operations Group, after Stepp’s promotion ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport; June 6, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Charles D. Davis III congratulates Col. Joseph H. Stepp IV, commander, 145th Operations Group, after Stepp’s promotion ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport; June 6, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Charles D. Davis III, commander of the 145th Operations Group, officiates over a change of command ceremony, as Lt. Col. Joseph H. Stepp IV relinquishes command of the 156th Airlift Squadron, June 6, 2015, at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Charles D. Davis III, commander of the 145th Operations Group, officiates over a change of command ceremony, as Lt. Col. Joseph H. Stepp IV relinquishes command of the 156th Airlift Squadron, June 6, 2015, at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Marshall C. Collins, commander, 145th Airlift Wing, receives guidon from outgoing commander, Col. Charles D. Davis III as he relinquishes command of the 145th Operations Group, during a change of command ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport; June 6, 2015. Davis, who enlisted in the military July 1977 as a Weapons Mechanic for the Arizona Air National Guard, was commissioned through the Academy of Military Science, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Knoxville, Tenn., in 1985. Col. Davis joined the NCANG in 1997 and after serving 18 years in various leadership positions, will retire August 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Marshall C. Collins, commander, 145th Airlift Wing, receives guidon from outgoing commander, Col. Charles D. Davis III as he relinquishes command of the 145th Operations Group, during a change of command ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport; June 6, 2015. Davis, who enlisted in the military July 1977 as a Weapons Mechanic for the Arizona Air National Guard, was commissioned through the Academy of Military Science, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Knoxville, Tenn., in 1985. Col. Davis joined the NCANG in 1997 and after serving 18 years in various leadership positions, will retire August 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Joseph H. Stepp IV, assumes command of the 145th Operations Group as he accepts the 145th OG guidon from Col. Marshall C. Collins, commander, 145th Airlift Wing, during a change of command ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport; June 6, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Joseph H. Stepp IV, assumes command of the 145th Operations Group as he accepts the 145th OG guidon from Col. Marshall C. Collins, commander, 145th Airlift Wing, during a change of command ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport; June 6, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Joseph H. Stepp IV, assumes command of the 145th Operations Group as he accepts the 145th OG guidon from Col. Marshall C. Collins, commander, 145th Airlift Wing, during a change of command ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport; June 6, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Joseph H. Stepp IV, assumes command of the 145th Operations Group as he accepts the 145th OG guidon from Col. Marshall C. Collins, commander, 145th Airlift Wing, during a change of command ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport; June 6, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

After assuming command of the 145th Operations Group, U.S. Air Force Col. Joseph H. Stepp IV is congratulated by Brig. Gen. Roger E. Williams, Jr., Assistant Adjutant General – Air, during a change of command ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport; June 6, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

After assuming command of the 145th Operations Group, U.S. Air Force Col. Joseph H. Stepp IV is congratulated by Brig. Gen. Roger E. Williams, Jr., Assistant Adjutant General – Air, during a change of command ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport; June 6, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Saturday morning, June 6, 2015, U.S. Air Force officer Joseph H. Stepp IV was a lieutenant colonel and the commander of the 156th Airlift Squadron. By the afternoon, he would be a colonel and the commander of the 145th Operations Group.

Stepp relinquished his leadership of the 156th Airlift Squadron over to new commander, Lt. Col. Miles Kevin Harkey during a morning change of command ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

After the reading of the promotion proclamation and his taking of the new oath, Stepp assumed command of the 145th Operations Group by accepting the 145th OG guidon from Col. Marshall C. Collins, commander 145th Airlift Wing.

Stepp now leads more than 270 airmen that are trained to execute a broad range of peacetime and combat missions throughout the state, nation and world, including C-130 airlift and airdrop operations, aeromedical evacuation and aerial firefighting (MAFFS) missions. 
 
Col. Stepp entered the Air Force in 1993 earning his commission through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program at North Carolina State University. He served for two years as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. prior to joining the North Carolina Air National Guard in 1996. After completion of pilot training, Stepp served as C-130H3 Instructor and Evaluator Pilot, Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) Instructor Pilot, Chief of Weapons and Tactics and Chief of Wing Plans. 

A combat-tested veteran, Col. Stepp has flown more than 5,600 flying hours to include combat operations while serving on overseas deployments supporting Operations Joint Forge (Enterprise), Coronet Oak, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. 

Looking out in the crowd of familiar faces Stepp spoke to family, distinguished visitors and members of the 145th Airlift Wing.

"I've wanted to fly since I was five years old." said Stepp. "I thank my family for all their support throughout the years with my desire to serve as an officer in the Air Force and fly airplanes. This truly is all that I ever wanted to do. With that being said, today is just as much because of you as it is anyone else." 

"To those that have flown with me, either here or around the world, and to those that I have worked with in a staff capacity, today is a culmination of your support, your excellence and your professionalism. Today is our success, it's our celebration.  Over the years, we have all experienced both successes and failures and I assure you that we will experience many more but we will experience them together."

As commander of the 145th Operations Group, Col. Stepp concluded by stating, "We are going to focus on empowering one another, encouraging one another and supporting one another. We are going to set high expectations for one another, hold one another accountable and mentor one another. Taking care of and focusing on our, ensures the success of the 145th Airlift Wing's mission."