174th Attack Wing Welcomes New Commander

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Autumn Velez
  • 174th Attack Wing
After more than four years of service as the 174th Attack Wing (ATKW) commander, Col. Greg Semmel relinquished command of the wing to Col. Michael Smith during a change of command ceremony held at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, April 3.

During this traditional military change of command ceremony, Semmel transferred the wing's colors to Maj. Gen. Anthony German, the commander of the New York Air National Guard. German, in turn, transferred the colors to Smith, representing the change of responsibility and authority for the men and women of the 174th ATKW.

While Semmel's time as the wing commander lasted alittle over four years, he has been an integral part of the 174th ATKW for the past sixteen years.

During his time at the 174th, Semmel served as the chief of weapons and tactics before becoming the operations group commander and eventually finding himself as the 174th Fighter Wing vice commander and then the 174th ATKW commander.

While Semmel's time as the 174th ATKW commander has come to an end, he assured the wing that Smith was the right leader to take over the responsibility of being the wing commander.

"You are getting a humble leader," Semmel said. "On a daily basis, Col. Smith brings the core values to the Air Force and he does everything to make sure the mission gets done and the Airmen are taken care of. Congrats to you and enjoy!"

Before relinquishing command, Semmel left the men and women of Hancock Field with one final thought.

"Always remember that it's a privilege to wear the uniform of our great nation," Semmel said.

The wing rendered a final salute to Semmel before rendering their first salute to Smith as the 174th ATKW commander.

Smith, who followed a similar career route as Semmel, has history with the 174th that goes back as far as 1998. He began his time at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base at the 138th Fighter Squadron as an F-16C instructor pilot and chief of scheduling and training. After ten years of service to the unit, Smith became the 174th maintenance group commander and went onto become the 174th ATKW vice commander.

After taking command, Smith thanked the men and women of 174th ATKW.

"Airmen of the 174th, it's a privilege to be your commander," Smith said.

Moving forward, Smith plans to up hold the high standards that were set by Semmel.

"We have an outstanding legacy to up hold...the Syracuse standard," Smith concluded.