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245th Civil Engineering Flight Welcomes New Commander

U.S. Air Force Col. Michael T. Ray, relinquishes command of the 245th Civil Engineering Flight as he hands over guidon to Col. Roger E. Williams Jr., 145th Airlift Wing commander, North Carolina Air National Guard, during a Change of Command ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard base, Charlotte-Douglas Intl. airport, Jan. 11, 2014.  The 245th CEF is one of only five specialty engineering units in the Air National Guard providing Command Staff Augmentation for Major and Combatant Commands.  245th CEF also provides technical expertise for planning, design and construction management. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Michael T. Ray, relinquishes command of the 245th Civil Engineering Flight as he hands over guidon to Col. Roger E. Williams Jr., 145th Airlift Wing commander, North Carolina Air National Guard, during a Change of Command ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard base, Charlotte-Douglas Intl. airport, Jan. 11, 2014. The 245th CEF is one of only five specialty engineering units in the Air National Guard providing Command Staff Augmentation for Major and Combatant Commands. 245th CEF also provides technical expertise for planning, design and construction management. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Roger E. Williams Jr., 145th Airlift Wing commander, hands guidon over to Col. John Wolverton, as Wolverton assumes command of the 245th Civil Engineering Flight, during a Change of Command ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard base, Charlotte-Douglas Intl. airport, Jan. 11, 2014. The traditional handing over of the guidon signifies the relief and acceptance of duty between two individuals from the base commander. It also allows for the accepting commander to be welcomed by troops, as well as the departing commander to give their ‘thank you’ and farewells. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Roger E. Williams Jr., 145th Airlift Wing commander, hands guidon over to Col. John Wolverton, as Wolverton assumes command of the 245th Civil Engineering Flight, during a Change of Command ceremony held at the North Carolina Air National Guard base, Charlotte-Douglas Intl. airport, Jan. 11, 2014. The traditional handing over of the guidon signifies the relief and acceptance of duty between two individuals from the base commander. It also allows for the accepting commander to be welcomed by troops, as well as the departing commander to give their ‘thank you’ and farewells. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery/Released)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- At the start of a New Year we crack open some fossils, peer back into ancient memories, make resolutions that we will probably break and look for opportunities that will hopefully make our future brighter and more rewarding. Start with a fresh page. Take up one more notch in the buckle if necessary, or let out one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January it is time to move forward; time for a change.

For members of the 145th Airlift Wing, this change came in the form of leadership. During one of four Change of Command ceremonies held at the North Carolina Air National Guard base in Charlotte, N.C., Colonel Michael T. Ray, relinquished command of the 245th Civil Engineering Flight to Colonel John Wolverton. "It's been a fantastic experience," says Ray, the unit's commander, who stood up the S-team in July 2008. Ray planned, programmed, design and oversaw construction for military projects worldwide including multiple locations in Africa and served proudly in direct support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"No greater privilege is given to an Officer than that of Command." Wolverton stated after assuming command. Wolverton was activated during the 9-11 terrorist attacks and spent a year on active duty in support of Operation Nobel Eagle. In February 2004 he volunteered, and was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he served as the Operations Officer for the Iraqi Garrison Commander's Training Team. Wolverton also deployed in 2011 to Kabul, Afghanistan where he served in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

  "When our senior leaders entrust the men and women of a combat unit to a Commander," said Wolverton, "They expect the members of that unit to succeed in their mission, and do so not because it is a requirement, but because they are inspired by the superior leadership of their Commander. To paraphrase Gen. Omar Bradley; an essential qualification of a good leader is their ability to recognize, select, and train future leaders."

With great pride, Wolverton concluded, "As the incoming Commander I will continue to ensure that the mission of the 245th Civil Engineering Flight meets these high expectations by continuing on with the legacy left by Colonel Ray."

The 245th Civil Engineering Flight, one of only five such specialty units in the Air National Guard, may be small in numbers but makes a huge difference on military operations worldwide. As author Margaret Mead once said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."