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Hancock Field welcomes its newest Commander

New York Air National Guard Col. Michael Comella (right), incoming commander of the 152nd Air Operations Group, accepts the guidon from Col. Greg Semmel,174th Attack Wing Commander, during a Change of Command Ceremony held at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syacuse, New York on April 6, 2013. (New York Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Justin A. Huett/Released)

New York Air National Guard Col. Michael Comella (right), incoming commander of the 152nd Air Operations Group, accepts the guidon from Col. Greg Semmel,174th Attack Wing Commander, during a Change of Command Ceremony held at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syacuse, New York on April 6, 2013. (New York Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Justin A. Huett/Released)

New York Air National Guard Col. Greg Semmel (left), Commander of the 174th Attack Wing, officiates the 152nd Air Operations Group's Change of Command ceremony held at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, New York on 6 April, 2013.  During the ceremony, Col. Mark Murphy (second from left) turned over command to Col. Michael Comella. (New York Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Justin A., Huett/Released)

New York Air National Guard Col. Greg Semmel (left), Commander of the 174th Attack Wing, officiates the 152nd Air Operations Group's Change of Command ceremony held at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, New York on 6 April, 2013. During the ceremony, Col. Mark Murphy (second from left) turned over command to Col. Michael Comella. (New York Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Justin A., Huett/Released)

New York Air National Guard Col. Michael Comella (second from right), incoming Commander of the 152nd Air Operations Group, stands next to Col. Mark Murphy (third from right), outgoing 152nd Commander, during the playing of the National Anthem at a Change of Command ceremony held on April 6, 2013 at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, NY. (New York Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Justin A. Huett/Released)

New York Air National Guard Col. Michael Comella (second from right), incoming Commander of the 152nd Air Operations Group, stands next to Col. Mark Murphy (third from right), outgoing 152nd Commander, during the playing of the National Anthem at a Change of Command ceremony held on April 6, 2013 at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, NY. (New York Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Justin A. Huett/Released)

Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, NY -- New York Air National Guard Colonel Michael Comella assumed command of the 152nd Air Operations Group (AOG) from Colonel Mark Murphy during a formal ceremony held here on April 6, 2013.

Col. Comella is a Traditional Guardsmen who works full-time at Cornell University in the Intellectual Property Management department.  He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role of 152nd Commander.

"It is with great humility that I stand on the foundation built by the hard work and dedication of all the past commanders of the 152nd AOG, to serve as your next commander," Col. Comella said during the Change of Command ceremony.

Distinguished visitors in attendance at the ceremony included Maj. Gen. Patrick Murphy, the Adjutant General of the State of New York, his wife Cherie, Brig. Gen. Kevin Bradley, Assistant Adjutant General-Air, his wife Karen, Maj. Gen. (RET) Michael Hall, former Adjutant General of the State of New York and 174FW/CC, and his wife Sheela.

The 152nd AOG performs the unique mission of serving as lead Air Reserve Component augmentee to the Air Operations Command (AOC) at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.  The unit has become known as the "go-to" Air National Guard AOG for air operations in U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE). The 152nd AOG directly supports the 603 Air and Space Operations Center (AOC) in the United States European Command (USEUCOM) and United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM).

Prior to becoming commander, Col. Comella served as Director of Operations for the 152nd.  As the new commander, he also will be responsible for overseeing the 274th Air Support Operations Squadron (ASOS) and 222nd Command and Control Squadron (CACS), two units which recently converted to the organizational control of the 152nd and which dramatically increase the group's mission capability.

Another opportunity for Col. Comella will be to recruit outstanding Airmen to the 152nd. "Unlike other organizations which rely extensively on new commissionings, due to the complexity of our mission we require a large number of seasoned individuals with kinetic experience, something that the Air Force has in short supply," said outgoing Commander Col. Mark Murphy.

"We will continue to focus on training and improving readiness to provide the best command and control expertise the DoD has grown accustomed to," said Col. Comella

Both Col. Murphy and Col. Comella have been members of the 152nd AOG for the past 14 years, where they have worked closely together. Having grown-up together in the 152nd they share many of the same experiences, vision and direction in which the 152nd will move toward further into the 21st Century, to include a recent $3.5 million renovation of its facilities.

Concluding a 30-year military career, Col. Murphy plans to return from a leave of absence to American Airlines where he has been a pilot for over 20 years.