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Maintenance Group Receives New Commander

Col. John Puttre, the Director of Staff for Air, accepts the maintenance group guidon from Col. James Locke, the out-going maintenance group commander, on Saturday, February 5, 2011, at Gen. Mitchell International Airport.  Lt. Col. Daniel S. Yenchesky, standing to the right, assumed command of the maintenance group.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kenneth Pagel / Released)

Col. John Puttre, the Director of Staff for Air, accepts the maintenance group guidon from Col. James Locke, the out-going maintenance group commander, on Saturday, February 5, 2011, at Gen. Mitchell International Airport. Lt. Col. Daniel S. Yenchesky, standing to the right, assumed command of the maintenance group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kenneth Pagel / Released)

Lt. Col. Daniel S. Yenchesky, commander of the 128th Air Refueling Wing maintenance group, stands between Col. John Puttre, Director of Staff for Air, and Col. James Locke, the out-going maintenance group commander, following a change-of-command ceremony on Saturday, February 5, 2011.  Lt. Col. Yenchesky addressed the group, reminding them of their 10-year role in the on-going overseas operations.(U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kenneth Pagel / Released)

Lt. Col. Daniel S. Yenchesky, commander of the 128th Air Refueling Wing maintenance group, stands between Col. John Puttre, Director of Staff for Air, and Col. James Locke, the out-going maintenance group commander, following a change-of-command ceremony on Saturday, February 5, 2011. Lt. Col. Yenchesky addressed the group, reminding them of their 10-year role in the on-going overseas operations.(U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kenneth Pagel / Released)

Lt. Col. Daniel S. Yenchesky, commander of the 128th Air Refueling Wing maintenance group, gives his opening address to gathered Airmen following his induction as the new maintenance group commander.  Yenchesky assumed command from Col. James Locke, who will go on to command the 128th Air Refueling Wing operations group.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kenneth Pagel / Released)

Lt. Col. Daniel S. Yenchesky, commander of the 128th Air Refueling Wing maintenance group, gives his opening address to gathered Airmen following his induction as the new maintenance group commander. Yenchesky assumed command from Col. James Locke, who will go on to command the 128th Air Refueling Wing operations group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kenneth Pagel / Released)

MILWAUKEE -- The 128th Air Refueling Wing Maintenance Group conducted a change-of-command ceremony at Gen. Mitchell International Airport here on Saturday, February 5, 2011.

Col. James Locke, the out-going commander, relinquished command of the maintenance group to his successor, Lt. Col. Daniel S. Yenchesky, at 8 o'clock this morning.

Col. Locke bid the maintenance group farewell, saying, "You have molded me, shaped me, and made me a better person."

Later Saturday, Locke will move his office to the other side of the base to become the commander of the operations group.

"What a thrill to get to do such satisfying work in maintenance and operations," Locke said. "We're delivering combat capability on behalf of our country. I can't think of a better job than to fly and fix aircraft."

Lt. Col. Yenchesky's opening comment as the new maintenance commander placed emphasis on the group's 10-year role in the on-going overseas operations , and he said the group must sustain that level of commitment.

"Command is about service; service to unit, and to state," Yenchesky said. "When you keep that in mind, command is successful."

An integral component of any change-of-command ceremony is the passing of the guidon, which is the unit flag kept near the commander's office. The guidon is the source of pride and honor for a unit and that unit's commander. Moreover, the guidon represents the unit's members and its commanding officer. During unit formations, the guidon is the rallying point for unit members. The significance of a guidon comes from ancient times, wherein troops recognized their unit and their commanding officer by the guidon held high above the gathered warriors. Then and now, guidons stand as reminders of a unit's accomplishments.

Passing a guidon during a change-of-command ceremony is much more than a component of the ceremony; it is a sign of acknowledgement and respect. By relinquishing possession of the guidon, the out-going commander signals his trust in the in-coming commander's ability to lead the unit forward.