MIDDLETOWN, Pa. --
MIDDLETOWN, Pa. - The fourth largest wing in the U.S. Air National Guard is under new leadership, as Col. Edward Fink, Jr., received the unit guidon from Brig. Gen. Michael Regan, Jr., Pennsylvania Air National Guard commander, during an assumption of command ceremony here today.
“I have known Ed Fink for over 30 years, and feel very qualified to provide you with this assessment. You will have to cast a net very far and wide to find a more dedicated and professional Airman,” said Regan. “As your new commander, you can count on him to challenge you to do better, but he will never ask you to do something that he hasn’t already done, or is willing to do himself.”
The ceremony also marked the beginning of another wing leadership tenure as Chief Master Sgt. Robert Smith assumed responsibilities as 193rd SOW command chief.
“If there is one thing I want you to hear in this address, it’s that this position is not about me,” Smith said. “The position is about each and every one of you and about finding the resources to allow you to be innovative and develop into the next generation of wing leaders and war fighters. I vow to be consistent and transparent while providing you with the ‘why.’”
Prior to his current position, Col. Fink served as commander of the 111th Operations Group, Biddle ANG Base, Pennsylvania. As 193rd SOW commander, Fink will lead about 2,000 combat-ready Airmen. In his first speech as commander, Fink outlined his three priorities: mission, people and relationships.
“The Airmen of the 193rd are our competitive advantage,” Fink said. “I can assure you that I and the rest of your leadership team are laser-focused on developing you as the future leaders of this organization. We will make deliberate investments in our Airmen through mentoring, feedback and growth opportunities to allow you to achieve your goals.”
Smith takes over as command chief after previously serving as the senior enlisted leader of the 193rd Regional Support Group. In that role, Smith advised on all issues relating to mission effectiveness, health, morale, readiness, enlisted development and mentoring of 520 Airmen.
Fink and Smith take charge at a critical time and will oversee the wing aircraft re-missioning from the EC-130J to the MC-130J. The MC-130J Commando II is a flagship mission for Air Force Special Operations Command. The 193rd SOW is the first – and currently the only – wing in the Air National Guard to take on this mission, which helps guarantee relevancy for the wing for years to come.
“Accomplishing the mission is why the Air Force, the Air National Guard and the 193rd exist.” Fink said. “Effectively executing our mission is critically important to our nation and our commonwealth. I also know that without competent Airmen who are motivated to serve, we cannot and will not be successful. Mission first, people always.”
Fink joined the Pennsylvania ANG in 1988. He commissioned in 1993 as an A/OA-10 pilot where he eventually upgraded to evaluator pilot. Previously, Fink commanded the 111th Maintenance Group, 193rd SOW Detachment 1, Bollen Air-to-Ground Range and 193rd Special Operations Group. As a command pilot, Col. Fink has more than 3,900 hours of military flight time in the T-37, T-38, A/OA-10, C-130J, EC-130J and MQ-9 and is a veteran of operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom with 506 hours of combat flight time.
“There could be no more perfect time for Colonel Ed Fink to return to the 193rd as your commander,” said Regan. “New aircraft and a new mission are on the horizon. The 193rd will continue to build upon its legacy of exceeding expectations, and will retain its rightful position at the tip of the spear.”
Smith entered the U.S. Air Force in 1987 as an Aerospace Ground Equipment Apprentice and has deployed in support of numerous operations to include operations Provide Comfort, Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Unified Protector.