Boltjes to command award winning 114th MXS

Col. Joel Degroot, 114th Maintenance Group commander, passes the 114th Maintenance Squadron (MXS) guidon to Lt. Col. Travis Boltjes, the incoming 114th MXS commander, during a change of command ceremony at Joe Foss Field, S.D., July 12, 2015. The primary purpose of a change of command ceremony is to allow subordinates to witness the formality of command change from one officer to another. The 114th MXS is the largest squadron on base with almost 250 Airmen. (National Guard photo by Staff. Sgt. Luke Olson/Released)

Col. Joel Degroot, 114th Maintenance Group commander, passes the 114th Maintenance Squadron (MXS) guidon to Lt. Col. Travis Boltjes, the incoming 114th MXS commander, during a change of command ceremony at Joe Foss Field, S.D., July 12, 2015. The primary purpose of a change of command ceremony is to allow subordinates to witness the formality of command change from one officer to another. The 114th MXS is the largest squadron on base with almost 250 Airmen. (National Guard photo by Staff. Sgt. Luke Olson/Released)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Lt. Col. Travis Boltjes assumed command of the 114th Maintenance Squadron (MXS) in front of 114th Maintenance Group personnel and Boltjes family members during a change of command ceremony at Joe Foss Field here July 12, 2015.

Col. Joel Degroot, 114th Maintenance Group commander, presided over the ceremony and passed the 114th MXS guidon from Lt. Col. Scott Rust, outgoing commander, to incoming commander Boltjes. Lt. Col. Rust will be heading to the South Dakota National Guard Headquarters to fill the joint service position of Director of Plans and work as the maintenance liaison on the state staff.

Boltjes joined the 114th Fighter Wing in 2002 and began flying in early 2005 netting more than 1200 flying hours. He began a flying tour at the Pentagon in 2010 with the National Guard Bureau and for the past year and a half he's served on a non-flying tour as the executive officer to Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, Vice Chief of the NGB.

Boltjes is on a tentative two-year schedule to learn command responsibilities.

"MXS is the largest squadron on this base with close to 250 Airmen," said Degroot. "Lt. Col. Boltjes will have his best exposure to understand what a fighter unit goes through day-to-day and month-to-month which will provide him with a great growth opportunity in his career."

Boltjes stated that his goal is to keep the squadron operating its current peak level.

"Scott Rust has done an awesome job as a leader and squadron commander here," said Boltjes. "It's a challenging scenario to pick up an organization that is seemingly at the best they can be. So a big priority I've set out is to learn as much as I can about how they do business and keep the squadron operating at this top level, and I'll do whatever I can do to help that."

Outgoing commander Lt. Col. Rust has left his legacy by winning several awards during his tenure, culminating with the 114th MXG taking home the top Red Flag 15-1 award out of 22 units from around the country. Red Flag is a realistic combat training exercise involving the air, space, and cyber forces of the U.S. and its allies.

"It's going to be an awesome challenge," said Boltjes. "I plan to use my past flying experience and knowledge I've gained working with maintenance personnel and couple that with my time spent at the NGB to hit the ground running."