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AZ Air Guard welcomes new tanker wing commander

Col. Patrick W. Donaldson accepts the 161st Air Refueling Wing guidon from Maj. Gen. Edward Maxwell, Arizona Air National Guard Air Component Commander,  during the change of command ceremony at Goldwater Air National Guard Base, Jan. 7, 2017.

Col. Patrick W. Donaldson accepts the 161st Air Refueling Wing guidon from Maj. Gen. Edward Maxwell, Arizona Air National Guard Air Component Commander, during the change of command ceremony at Goldwater Air National Guard Base, Jan. 7, 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Dillon Davis)

GOLDWATER AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ariz. -- Col. Patrick Donaldson assumed command of the 161st Air Refueling Wing from Col. Troy Daniels, during a change of command ceremony here, Jan. 7, signifying the official transfer of authority.

The Arizona Air National Guard Air Component Commander, Maj. Gen. Edward Maxwell, presided over the ceremony and shared his gratitude for the wing member’s service. He also thanked Daniels for his contribution to the wing and congratulated Donaldson in his new role as wing commander.

“I truly want to thank the men and women of this extraordinary wing. Your support and dedication to our state, country, and the United States Air Force is unwavering. Today is a great day to be a Copperhead,” said Maxwell. Copperhead is the Wing’s nickname. He added, that he has great faith that Donaldson will be an outstanding wing commander because of his passion, dedication, to the mission, and unparalleled leadership.

A change of command is one of the rare moments in a military career where both the outgoing and incoming commanders receive special acknowledgement for their service - a legacy is cemented, while a new vision begins to unfold.

In his farewell remarks, Daniels expressed his appreciation for the hard work the wing exhibited while he was wing commander. He added that he is extremely honored to have been a part of the wing’s tradition of excellence.

“There are periods in life that are special beyond description. Ones that are so good, you will cherish and tell everyone. These are the type of moments you will remember the rest of your life,” said Daniels. He added that his tenure as wing commander is absolutely one of the most special moments in his life.

“I know you will have a fantastic experience as the new wing commander,” Daniels said, directly to Donaldson. He emphasized, “The main ingredient that allows the wing to thrive in its endeavors is teamwork. The desire for your teammates to succeed, if not more than you, is essential for the prosperity of the wing.” As a lasting message, Daniels urged wing members to continue to flourish and persevere in their mission-objective capacity.

Taking the podium to officially address guests and wing members, Donaldson thanked Daniels for his courage and wisdom in his leadership of the wing’s mission. 

“We are a much better wing as a result of Colonel Daniels’ leadership. I learned a lot from him and I believe that his vision for our wing will carry us forward,” said Donaldson.

After serving nine years active duty in the United States Air Force, Donaldson joined the wing in 2003.

“Somewhere along the line, in our past, it became an organizational habit for Copperheads to sacrifice on behalf of each other,” Donaldson said. He added, “Selflessness has become a natural act that is seen in very conspicuous tragedies that we have endured. I have been in a few different organizations in my life and this place is exceptional.”

Prior to the change of command, Donaldson was the commander of the wing's operations group responsible for formulating plans and establishing procedures for 245 personnel and eight KC-135R aircraft.

Speaking directly to the wing’s leadership, Donaldson encouraged the observation of teamwork and tenacity displayed by wing members. “Allow yourselves to be inspired by them,” he continued. 

Donaldson said he will continue to demand excellence and diligence in the wing’s primary war-time mission. 
“Remain focused on what gives us strength. To continue to care for each other in the best Copperhead traditions and to hold each other accountable in achieving excellence,” said Donaldson. 

Donaldson is the second wing commander since the renaming of the installation to Goldwater Air National Guard base.

“I am one hundred percent confident we will champion such challenges and continue to provide our now-seventy one year old tradition of providing our friends, family, and fellow citizens with the common defense they deserve. I am humbled and honored to be your wing commander,” said Donaldson.