Wing Welcomes New Commander

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Josh Mead
  • 103rd AW/PA
The passing of colors is symbolic of the transfer of responsibility for the assembled command, from the outgoing commander to the incoming commander. It is also a sign to the soldiers or airmen that the old commander has willingly passed the mantle of leadership to the new commander, and that they no longer profess to have authority over the unit.
     Col. Brian P. Barnes, commander, 103rd Airlift Wing transferred his command to Col. Frank N. Detorie, director of operations, Joint Force Headquarters, Conn. Air National Guard, during a ceremony here March 8, 2009.
     I am very proud of him, said Detorie's wife, Darcie. This is a great honor for us, it just happened so fast though, for the both of us. It hasn't all really sunk in yet.
Barnes decided to relinquish command after accepting a position as manager of the Barnes Municipal Airport in Westfield, Mass. effective March 16. Barnes was one of two finalists interviewed for the position. Barnes's wife, Julie, said he had submitted his application just to see what would happen. Originally, Barnes had not been put on the "short list" of applicants, but later the Airport Commission revisited his application alongside one other, ultimately selecting Barnes.
     When asked what he would miss most when leaving the 103rd Airlift Wing, Barnes replied, "It's the same no matter where you go. I won't miss the job, or the ORIs, inspections, wearing the same uniform or even flying.
I will miss the people. You build these relationships and friendships by going through difficult things together."
     "Bradley has prepared me by giving me a lot of responsibility in dealing with capital venues and legislative teams from a political perspective," he said. Barnes said this experience will become a large part of his new job as he will have to deal a lot with the politics of the commonwealth of Massachusetts.
     With the new job, he will no longer be managing a 1,000-plus personnel military operation, but a six-person municipal airport. A change of pace Barnes described as a quieter lifestyle where he can get in a one prop plane and enjoy flying.
     In his final address to the members of the 103rd, Barnes drew a comparison between Queen Esther from the Book of Esther in the Bible to the future that rests in the hands of the 103rd Airlift Wing personnel.
"I propose to you, that your contributions are every bit as crucial to the success of this wing as Esther's decision was to save her king," Barnes said. "Will you all step up and allow yourself to be used for such a time?"
     The 103rd will now be under the guidance of, in Barnes's words, the much smarter Col. Frank N. Detorie.
     "He's a much more organized individual," Barnes said, "he has to take all the bits and pieces and refine it and make it more pointed." Perfect for taking the transformation from the crawl and walk stage to the running stage, he said.
     During the change of command ceremony, Detorie complimented Barnes stating, "B-squared led this wing over what, I would argue, is probably the most challenging time in the history of the Conn. Air Guard."
     He then expressed thanks for the opportunity to serve the wing and now, more importantly, to work for the wing.
     "It gives me an opportunity to affect change," said Detorie, "I owe that to an organization that has given me so much to this point."
     Detorie is a graduate of The United States Air Force Academy class of 1988, and the Air War College 2007. He has over 9,000 hours of flight time and is qualified in both the A-10 and C-21A. He has been a part of the Conn. Air National Guard since August of 1997.
     His role now as wing commander, in his words, "is to ensure the transformation goes in a direction that will keep the Conn. Air Guard in the business of flying airplanes--relevant airplanes--for a long time to come. When I come back for old timer's day I want to see Conn. Tails," he said.
     The transformation is now in the hands of Col. Detorie and he expresses his dedication and sincerity in his mission at hand with a simple two-word response. When asked if he felt a sense of accomplishment in attaining his new position he replied, "Not yet."