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139th Airlift Wing holds Change of Command ceremonies

Col. Ralph Schwader, 139th Airlift Wing vice commander, hands the 139th Operations Group flag to Lt. Col. Dave Halter, 139th OG commander, during a change of command ceremony Dec. 4, 2011 at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Mo. (Missouri Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Stuart)

Col. Ralph Schwader, 139th Airlift Wing vice commander, hands the 139th Operations Group flag to Lt. Col. Dave Halter, 139th OG commander, during a change of command ceremony Dec. 4, 2011 at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Mo. (Missouri Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Stuart)

Lt. Col. Coy Riecker (right), 180th Airlift Squadron commander, salutes Col. Ralph Schwader, 139th Airlift Wing vice commander, during a change of command ceremony Dec. 4, 2011 at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Mo. (MIssouri Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Stuart)

Lt. Col. Coy Riecker (right), 180th Airlift Squadron commander, salutes Col. Ralph Schwader, 139th Airlift Wing vice commander, during a change of command ceremony Dec. 4, 2011 at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Mo. (MIssouri Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Stuart)

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- The 139th Airlift Wing held two change of command ceremonies here Dec. 4 for the 139th Operations Group and for the 180th Airlift Squadron.

Lt. Col. Coy Riecker, resident of Smithville, Mo., assumed command of the 180th AS from Lt. Col. Dave Halter, resident of St. Joseph, Mo.

"I'm very honored and gracious to have this opportunity," said Riecker. "The 180th is a top notch organization with a proud heritage and our people are second to none."

As a traditional Guardmember, Riecker faces another level of difficulty as he strives to balance his military command obligation with his civilian employer's requirements as well as his commitment to his family.

"I certainly understand the juggling act that our traditional members deal with on a day-to-day basis," said Riecker. "The key is communication. Our people are very dedicated but need to be kept informed in order to do their jobs."

Riecker's acceptance of the position is advantageous to the Wing since the majority of its members are from the civilian sector.

"I believe it is important to keep the traditional Guardsman woven into the command structure," said Col. Michael Pankau, the wing commander of the 139th AW. "He brings balance and the perspective of the 70% of our members who are traditional members and the primary reason for our full-time positions."

As soon as Riecker assumed authority of the 180th AS, Halter accepted the command of the 139th OG as Col. Ralph Schwader became the vice wing commander of the 139th AW recently.

"I'm excited about the opportunity and the chance to help the group through some very challenging times," said Halter. "We have a great legacy that was built by the traditional force and I'm looking for them to step forward and take on greater responsibilities."
Halter's father, Larry Halter (deceased), retired as a senior master sergeant from the Flight Engineer Section after more than 42 years in the unit. Halter contributes his success to his father and mother, Cleta Halter.

"My father and mother were a driving force in getting an education and becoming an officer," said Halter. "They were very dedicated to working hard and doing the job right the first time and I try to emulate that work ethic."