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News | May 16, 2021

Torch Passed

By Senior Master Sgt. Timm Huffman 157th Air Refueling Wing

Command of the New Hampshire Air National Guard changed hands during a ceremony held beneath the wings of a KC-46A refueler at Pease Air National Guard Base on May 15.

In a symbol of the transfer, outgoing commander Brig. Gen. Laurie Farris passed the organizational guidon to incoming commander Brig. Gen. Jed French.

NH Adjutant Gen. David Mikolaities presided over the ceremony. Also in attendance were friends, family, retired leaders of the NHNG, and members of the New Hampshire Air National Guard.

French, a traditional guardsmen who is a district court judge in Maine, assumed command after serving as the NHANG chief of staff since 2018. He’ll be responsible for overseeing 1,300 airmen, ensuring they are prepared for contingency and homeland defense operations for both federal and state missions.

French enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1983. He served as a cavalry scout for two years, patrolling the East German-West German border. After a break in service, he received a direct commission in the NHANG, serving in various roles and deploying multiple times. He also served as the staff judge advocate for the 157th Air Refueling Wing from 2002-2012.

After receiving command, French delivered remarks, noting the dedication of the men and women of the NHANG, especially in overcoming the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and committing himself to their success.

“I promise to do my best to support you every day I continue to serve,” said French in his remarks. He was especially impressed by the dedication of so many airmen who have been activated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Farris, who had served as NHANG commander since 2018, will now work as the Air National Guard assistant to the commander of Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.

Atop the dais, Mikolaities highlighted her efforts supporting airmen during her tenure and the key role she played in the selection of the 157th ARW as the recipient of the Air Force’s newest aerial refueler, the KC-46A Pegasus.

Following the change of command ceremony, and in advance of her transition to support AMC, Farris received a promotion to the rank of major general.

In a show of gratitude for her more than 25 years of service to Pease and the NHANG, Col. John Pogorek, commander of the 157th ARW, called the formation of airmen to attention and rendered a salute.