Col. Thomas Anderson relinquished command of the Arkansas Air National Guard's 188th Fighter Wing to Col. Mark W. Anderson in a formal change-of-command ceremony Saturday (April 14) at Ebbing Air National Guard Base.
Col. Mark Anderson previously served as the 188th's vice commander before taking command of the Flying Razorbacks.
Anderson will oversee all of the 188th Fighter Wing's operations and support functions, as well as manage the full-time force of federal technicians, active Guard and Reserve members and state employees. The 188th consists of approximately 1,000 Airmen. The 188th is equipped with 20 A-10C Thunderbolt II "Warthog" aircraft and conducts close-air support, forward air control and combat search and rescue missions.
"I'm energized about the chance to lead this wing and excited about conquering the challenges that lie ahead," Anderson said in a statement. "Those challenges are formidable but they are manageable. Our facilities, airspace, training partnerships and community support are unmatched. But it's the courage, devotion, experience and enthusiasm of our hardworking Airmen that will help us surmount those obstacles and carry us through those challenging times. The 188th has always excelled in the face of adversity and I am confident that will continue."
Along with his experience as vice commander, Col. Mark Anderson has served in a number of different positions at the 188th and during his active duty Air Force career.
Anderson joined the 188th Fighter Wing in 2000. He has flown the F-16 Falcon and the A-10. During his tenure at the 188th, he has functioned in multiple roles, including 184th Fighter Squadron commander, 184th director of operations, wing chief of Safety and vice wing commander. His additional duties have included wing conversion project officer, unit compliance inspection project officer and operational readiness inspection project officer.
A command pilot, Anderson has more than 4,000 hours military flight time in the T-37, T-38, OV-10, F-16 and A-10. Upon completion of pilot training in 1987, he was assigned to Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., as a forward air controller. At Shaw he flew the OT-37 and OV-10.
During his active duty career he served as a flight commander, wing chief of training, assistant director of operations and director of operations, functional check pilot, mission commander and instructor pilot.
OTHER POSITION CHANGES
Col. Pete Gauger was promoted to colonel and elevated to the position of 188th Fighter Wing vice commander during the ceremony, which also included a 188th Mission Support Group change of command.
Gauger, the former 188th Mission Support Group commander, handed the group's reins to Lt. Col. Tenise Gardner during the event.
"Col. Gauger's ability to solve complex issues with resolve and determination makes him a true asset to this wing," Col. Thomas Anderson, 188th Fighter Wing commander, said in the statement. "Since taking the reins of the Mission Support Group in 2009, Col. Pete Gauger's keen insight, trusted counsel and astute leadership were instrumental in helping the 188th surmount a vast array of challenges. His counsel will without question be an asset to wing leadership as he moves on to his new assignment as the wing's vice commander."
Gauger joined the active duty Air Force in 1979 as an enlisted member in Accounting and Finance. Gauger was stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, where he worked in Materiel and Accounts Control for the Comptroller Squadron of Alaska Air Command.
He joined the 188th Fighter Wing in 1985 and served a total of eight years as an enlisted member in the Financial Management (FM) Flight of the Air National Guard before earning a commission as a full-time budget officer in 1992.
Lt. Col. Tenise Gardner assumed command from Gauger.
"As the Mission Support Group says goodbye to an exceptional commander, it welcomes a distinguished and motivated leader ready to author an even brighter future and build upon past successes," said Col. Thomas Anderson, 188th Fighter Wing commander. "Her vast experience in managing challenging predicaments as well as her fortitude, wisdom and vision give her the attributes necessary to excel in her new position."
Gardner joined the 188th Fighter Wing in 1987 as an enlisted member in information management. She served as the 188th Public Affairs information management specialist until 1989 before moving to the 188th Military Equal Opportunity (MEO) Office.
Gardner earned her commission as the 188th Military Equal Opportunity officer in 1991. She became officer-in-charge of 188th MEO in 1998, before being named the 188th Mission Support Group executive officer in 2000. In 2001, Gardner became the wing's telecommunications manager and took command of the 188th Communications Flight.