139th News

St. Joseph native assumes command of the 139th Airlift Wing

  • Published
  • By Missouri National Guard
  • Public Affairs Office
Maj. Gen. Stephen L. Danner, adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard, announced today Col. Michael Pankau has assumed command of the 139th Airlift Wing immediately.

A formal assumption of command ceremony will be held once the current state emergency duty concludes.

"Col. Pankau is a proven leader, seasoned by overseas deployments to support Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom among others," Danner said. "He has served as vice commander of the 139th and commander of the Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center at Rosecrans. Since Spring, while acting commander of the 139th, he has served as commander of Task Force 139, protecting communities in and around St. Joseph from record flooding."

Pankau, a Saint Joseph native, graduated from Central High School in 1980 and Missouri Western State University in 1984 with a bachelor of science degree in psychology. He also earned a master of science degree in aero science technology from University of Central Missouri.

"Col Pankau has done a excellent job in every position he has held at the 139th," said Brig. Gen. Stephen Cotter, assistant adjutant general air. "I have every confidence he will continue to lead in an exceptional manner."

Pankau has been awarded numerous medals, ribbons and other citations, including the Meritorious Service Medal, the Aerial Achievement Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, as well as medals for the liberation of Kuwait and numerous Missouri state medals. These medals reflect his service abroad and at home, in combat and assisting in natural disasters. He is a master navigator with over 4000 flight hours in the C-130 Hercules aircraft.

The St. Joseph native becomes the tenth commander of the unit that traces its start to a small group of Airmen who fought World War II in the skies over Europe.

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For more information about this release, please contact the Missouri National Guard public affairs office at (573) 638-9846 or ngmo.pao@us.army.mil.