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114th Fighter Wing welcomes new commander

Col. Mark R. Morrell, 114th Fighter Wing incoming commander, salutes Brig. Gen. Russ A. Walz, Assistant Adjutant General for air, South Dakota Air National Guard, during the 114th Fighter Wing Change of Command Ceremony at Joe Foss Field, S.D. Sept. 7, 2019.

Col. Mark R. Morrell, 114th Fighter Wing incoming commander, salutes Brig. Gen. Russ A. Walz, Assistant Adjutant General for air, South Dakota Air National Guard, during the 114th Fighter Wing Change of Command Ceremony at Joe Foss Field, S.D. Sept. 7, 2019. Morrell becomes the 12th commander of the 114th Fighter Wing which began in 1946.

Col. Mark R. Morrell addresses 114th Fighter Wing Airmen, family and friends during a commander’s call after he assumed his new role as the 114th FW commander at Joe Foss Field, Sept. 7.

Col. Mark R. Morrell addresses 114th Fighter Wing Airmen, family and friends during a commander’s call after he assumed his new role as the 114th FW commander at Joe Foss Field, Sept. 7. Morrell becomes the 12th commander of the 114th FW which began in 1946. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Luke Olson/Released)

Joe Foss Field, S.D. -- Col. Mark R. Morrell, 114th Fighter Wing incoming commander, assumed command of the 114th Fighter Wing from Col. Nathan B. Alholinna, at Joe Foss Field, Sioux Falls, South Dakota on September 7, 2019. Morrell is the 12th Commander of the 114th Fighter Wing which began in 1946.

Brig. Gen. Russ A. Walz, Assistant Adjutant General for Air, South Dakota National Guard presided over the ceremony.

Walz and Alholinna both expressed that Morrell was the right man in the right place at the right time.

“That was an action packed three plus years,” said Walz, referencing a record number of unit awards under the helm of Alholinna. “I have the utmost confidence that Colonel Morrell will take the 114th fighter wing to even greater highs.”

After officially assuming command, Morrell addressed his family and a crowd of military members as he explained his reason for excitement, was them.

Morrell is a 20 year member of the U.S. Air Force who has held a variety of positions in fighter aviation throughout his military career. Morrell’s previous role was vice wing commander. He has accumulated nearly 2,500 flight hours in the F-16 aircraft and has been on several deployments. Most recently, Morrell led 335 Airmen during a deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

“My focus points are culture, mission, and community,” said Morrell, who described each point and how they will guide the members of the 114th while he is in command.

Morrell thanked the Airmen for living a life of service to our communities and our nation as citizen Airmen.

“It is my joy and honor to be your commander. I commit to you that you will get my full effort and my very best attitude in service to you, our teams, and your families,” said Morrell.