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156th Airlift Squadron welcomes new commander

Leaders of the 145th Operations Group, bow their heads in prayer before 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)

Leaders of the 145th Operations Group, bow their heads in prayer before 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)

During a change of command ceremony officiated by U.S. Air Force Col. Charles D. Davis III, commander, 145th Operations Group, Lt. Col. Miles K. Harkey relinquishes command of the 145th Operations Support Squadron and assumes command of the 156th Airlift Squadron. The ceremony was 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)

During a change of command ceremony officiated by U.S. Air Force Col. Charles D. Davis III, commander, 145th Operations Group, Lt. Col. Miles K. Harkey relinquishes command of the 145th Operations Support Squadron and assumes command of the 156th Airlift Squadron. The ceremony was 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 Lt. Col. Miles K. Harkey relinquishes command of the 145th Operations Support Squadron and assumes command of the 156th Airlift Squadron, June 6, 2015. Col. Charles D. Davis III, commander, 145th Operations Group officiated the change of command ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Miles K. Harkey relinquishes command of the 145th Operations Support Squadron and assumes command of the 156th Airlift Squadron, June 6, 2015. Col. Charles D. Davis III, commander, 145th Operations Group officiated the change of command ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Miles K. Harkey addresses members of the 145th Airlift Wing after assuming command of the 156th Airlift Squadron during a ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport; June 6, 2015. Harkey has over 23 years of military service and 16 years of Federal Air Technician Service with the NCANG. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Miles K. Harkey addresses members of the 145th Airlift Wing after assuming command of the 156th Airlift Squadron during a ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport; June 6, 2015. Harkey has over 23 years of military service and 16 years of Federal Air Technician Service with the NCANG. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Lt. Col. Miles Kevin Harkey, C-130 senior evaluator pilot for the 145th Airlift Wing, and former commander of the 145th Operations Support Squadron, assumed command of the 156th Airlift Squadron during a ceremony held June 6, 2015, at the North Carolina Air National Guard base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport. 

Harkey began his military career in 1989 by joining ROTC at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Upon graduating from UNC in 1991, Harkey joined the North Carolina Air National Guard where he continued to pursue a flying career by attending the United States Air Force Pilot training program.

After successfully completing pilot training and earning his wings, Harkey then returned to the 145th Airlift Wing in January 1994 as a pilot, flying C-130 Hercules aircraft.  In April of 1999 he joined the NCANG as a full-time air technician.

Lt. Col. Harkey has over 23 years of military service and 16 years of Federal Air Technician Service with the NCANG. During those years Harkey has served in many leadership positions including 156th AS Chief Pilot, 145th Operations Group Executive Officer, Asst. Chief 145th OG Stan Eval Evaluator Pilot, 145th AW CC/Executive/ Plans Officer, 145th AW Chief of Weapons/Tactics, 145th AW Chief of Current Operations and 156th Asst. Chief of Training. 

After assuming command of the 156th AS, Harkey spoke to members of the Wing, Operations Group and Airlift Squadron sincerely thanking them for the distinct honor and unique opportunity to lead the 156 AS in a time of increased challenge and change. 

Harkey credited this accomplishment to his Faith, family, leadership and peers.  He emphasized a simple vision by stating, "The importance of succeeding in our mission is recruiting and retaining highly motivated people to lead and mentor while maintaining the highest state of readiness."

"We must lead by example." added Harkey, "We need to be transparent and accountable in our leadership decisions and above all empower our people to provide mentorship and guidance at the lowest level."

Harkey closed by proudly stating, "I accept this new responsibility with great confidence and will make the difficult decisions to do what it takes to accomplish the mission while ensuring that members under my command are treated fairly and respectfully."