Guard Commander completes 31 years of service

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson
  • 120th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office
A ceremony was held for the retiring 120th Operations Group commander in the Larsen Room of the 120th Airlift Wing Headquarters Building April 28.

Col. Patrick J. Hover completed over 31 years of service in his career as a member of the Montana Air National Guard.

According to his biography, Hover joined the MTANG in January 1986 while still a student at Charles M. Russell High School in Great Falls.

After high school graduation he completed Air Force Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas and life support technical training provided at Chanute Air Force Base, Ill. He then served as a drill-status guardsman for four years while he pursued his bachelor’s degree in physiology from the University of Montana.

He received his commission from the Academy of Military Science at McGee-Tyson Air National Guard Base in Knoxville, Tenn.

Hover earned his Air Force wings at Columbus Air Force Base in 1992 and then trained at Kingsley Field Air National Guard Base at Klamath Falls, Ore. to become an F-16A Fighting Falcon pilot.

Family members, friends, MTANG retirees and fellow Airmen filled the auditorium to hear leadership speak about Hover’s career accomplishments and his service to the MTANG during mission conversions and the many challenges faced by the unit.

“First and foremost he’s a man of faith and deep conviction,” said 120th AW Vice Commander Thomas Mora. “Probably one of his most enduring traits, among many, is he’s a servant-leader. Our core values define it as service before self and Colonel Hover is a leader who serves others motivated by his passion for people.”

During his successful and lengthy career Hover served as the operations officer for the 120th Fighter Wing Detachment One at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., 120th Operations Group weapons officer, action officer at the Air National Guard Readiness Center in Washington, D.C., 120th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander, 120th Maintenance Group commander and 120th OG commander. He also served an additional duty as the Quick Reaction Force deputy commander.

During his MTANG flying career Hover became a rated pilot in the F-16A/B, F-16C/D, F-15C/D and C-130H Hercules aircraft.

Hover encouraged Airmen to continue to treat each other with respect, work hard and support the new leadership team to be put in place at the wing.

“It is an absolute privilege to wear this uniform,” Hover said. “When you get to the point where you’re going to retire it is a privilege and it’s something that sets you all apart from anybody else-and we will always have that common bond, and that is something I will never forget.”

Retirement ceremony presentations to Hover included the United States Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, Montana National Guard Distinguished Service Medal and a certificate of appreciation for service in the Armed Forces of the United States of America signed by President Donald J. Trump.