HomeNewsArticle Display

Change of Command for 120th AW

Brigadier General Bryan P. Fox, the Assistant Adjutant General – Air, presents the unit flag of the 120th Airlift Wing to Col. Lee Smith during the change of command ceremony March 7, 2015 in Great Falls. (Montana Air National Guard photo/Tech. Sgt. Michael Touchette)

Brigadier General Bryan P. Fox, the Assistant Adjutant General – Air, presents the unit flag of the 120th Airlift Wing to Col. Lee Smith during the change of command ceremony March 7, 2015 in Great Falls. (Montana Air National Guard photo/Tech. Sgt. Michael Touchette)

Col. Lee Smith shakes hands with Col. J. Peter Hronek at the conclusion of the 120th Airlift Wing’s change of command ceremony March 7, 2015. (Montana Air National Guard photo/Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson)

Col. Lee Smith shakes hands with Col. J. Peter Hronek at the conclusion of the 120th Airlift Wing’s change of command ceremony March 7, 2015. (Montana Air National Guard photo/Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson)

Col. Pete Hronek receives his final salute from the Airmen of the 120th Airlift Wing during the change of command ceremony March 7, 2015 in Great Falls. (Montana Air National Guard photo/Staff Sgt. Lindsey Soulsby)

Col. Pete Hronek receives his final salute from the Airmen of the 120th Airlift Wing during the change of command ceremony March 7, 2015 in Great Falls. (Montana Air National Guard photo/Staff Sgt. Lindsey Soulsby)

Col. Pete Hronek presents his first commander’s coin to his wife, Tracy, for her years of support of the 120th Airlift Wing’s Airmen during the unit’s change of command ceremony March 7, 2015 in Great Falls. (Montana Air National Guard photo/Tech. Sgt. Michael Touchette)

Col. Pete Hronek presents his first commander’s coin to his wife, Tracy, for her years of support of the 120th Airlift Wing’s Airmen during the unit’s change of command ceremony March 7, 2015 in Great Falls. (Montana Air National Guard photo/Tech. Sgt. Michael Touchette)

GREAT FALLS, Mont. -- A C-130 Hercules aircraft undergoing maintenance in the 120th Airlift Wing's main hangar provided the backdrop for a historic change of command ceremony conducted in front of a formation of Airmen during the March unit training assembly.

Air Force Col. Leslie "Lee" T. Smith accepted command of the wing from Air National Guard Col. J. Peter Hronek in a ceremony presided over by the Commander of the Montana Air National Guard, Brig. Gen. Bryan Fox.

In addition to civic leaders and local government officials, the visiting dignitaries at the ceremony included Montana Governor Steve Bullock, Air Mobility Command Commander Gen. Darren McDew, the Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau Lt. Gen. Joseph Lengyel and Montana's Adjutant General of the Montana Air National Guard Maj. Gen. Matthew Quinn.

Fox highlighted many accomplishments the wing achieved during Hronek's five-year tenure as wing commander.

"Colonel Hronek, your leadership has been simply magnificent," said Fox. "You successfully led the wing through three of the most significant challenges we've ever faced. The conversion from the F-16 to the F-15, the preparation and execution of two air sovereignty alert missions, and the total force initiative challenges which realigned the F-15 mission away from Montana and replaced it with the C-130 flying mission."

Smith provides an extensive active-duty Air Force experience that includes flying C-130s at a time when the unit continues with a conversion from fighters to transport aircraft.
A command pilot with over 4,000 hours of flight time in C-130, C-20 and C-21 aircraft, Smith has also flown more than 550 combat and combat support hours during Operations Joint Guard, Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Prior to taking command of the 120th Airlift Wing, Smith's previous assignment was serving as the 86th Airlift Wing's Vice Commander at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
MTANG leadership considers Smith's command of the 120th Airlift Wing as being one which will pay long-term dividends and serve to build trust and understanding between the active duty and Air National Guard components.

Fox is optimistic that the knowledge gained through this new arrangement can be carried forward for future assignments and also helps to pave the way for further integration here and throughout the Air Force.  

"We collectively have the potential to weave the combat power of our active duty and the Guard forces into one fabric to best serve this great nation," said Fox. "We're getting a truly great leader at a great time."    

Smith looks forward to learning more about the Air National Guard and share his active duty experience with the Montana Air Guard unit.

"My big thing will be to instill what I know about the C-130 mission, and then help build that heritage and that culture here," said Smith. "The 120th is an outstanding unit, they've done some great things in the past with other platforms and they're still learning about the C-130, so it's my hope I can share what I know and my knowledge and love for the 130 with the Airmen here."

Hronek and his wife Traci will be moving to Helena, Mont. where he will serve as the Vice Chief of Joint Staff of the Montana National Guard at the Joint Forces Headquarters at Fort Harrison.
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.