Passing the torch

Col. Frank Detorie relinquished command and Col. Stephen R. Gwinn assumed command of the 103rd Airlift Wing Nov. 4, 2017.

Col. Frank Detorie relinquished command and Col. Stephen R. Gwinn assumed command of the 103rd Airlift Wing Nov. 4, 2017, during a ceremony at Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby, Conn. Detorie commanded the Connecticut Air National Guard unit for more than eight years. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Tamara R. Dabney/released)

BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Conn. (December 9,2017) -- From mission conversions to major base improvement projects, the Connecticut Air National Guard has been through several changes over the last eight years. On Nov. 4, 2017, the unit underwent yet another significant change as Col. Frank Detorie relinquished command and Col. Stephen Gwinn assumed command of the 103rd Airlift Wing.

When Detorie took command of the 103rd in 2009, the wing had a reputation for being a premier A-10 flying unit in the Air National Guard. By the end of Detorie’s tenure, the 103rd had once again built a reputation of being one of the best, this time as a C-130 flying unit. Seeking to maintain the upward momentum of what has been accomplished in the last eight years, Gwinn envisions the wing being at the forefront of domestic operations.

“We want to build on the foundation that Col. Detorie has built during his time as the Wing Commander,” said Gwinn. “In the short-term, as far as domestic operations, we will get even better at what we do and more streamlined.”

Through all of the changes, the Flying Yankees of the 103rd have proven their ability to adapt.

Members of the unit recently had the opportunity to show and prove their readiness and perform multiple functions while deployed to several areas in support of hurricane relief.

“For our hurricane relief missions, as a wing, we’ve been supporting multiple functions,” said Gwinn. “We carried supplies down via airlift, such as food, water and baby formula, which had an immediate impact. We set up the aerial port, and had airplanes rotating in and out at a rapid pace. We also sent our security forces and communications guys. It’s about executing the mission—doing it effectively and efficiently.”

The 103rd is currently at a turning point in its illustrious history. After several years of preparation, there is a new generation of Flying Yankees who are now ready to face new challenges; Airmen who are dedicated to mission accomplishment continue the tradition of achievement at the 103rd.

“I feel very fortunate to be the sitting commander of this wing at this point in time, as we reach the culmination of so much hard work,” Gwinn said. “Over the last eight years, I’ve been awed and inspired by the spirit and dedication that has transformed this base. These are exciting times.”