Maj. Gen. Patrick Murphy (left), the Adjutant General of the State of New York, presents Col. Kevin Bradley, outgoing 174th Fighter Wing Commander, with the Legion of Merit medal for outstanding leadership. Col Bradley relinquished command of the 174th Fighter Wing to Col. Greg Semmel during a cermenony held at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base on Sunday March 4, 2012. (New York Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. James N. Faso II/Released)
U.S. Air Force Col. Kevin W. Bradley addresses family and friends as well as military and civilian unit members of the 174th Fighter Wing at Hancock Field in Syracuse, NY on 4 March 2012. Bradley was giving his final speech as the Commander of the 174th during the Change of Command ceremony. Bradley expressed his appreciation of the men and woman of Hancock Field and his family who made his four years as the Commander a success. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Released)
New York Army National Guard Maj. Gen. Patrick A. Murphy (far left), the Adjutant General of the State of New York, applauds New York Air National Guard Col. Kevin W. Bradley (second from left), outgoing 174th Fighter Wing Commander, for a job well done during the Change of Command ceremony held at Hancock Field in Syracuse, NY on 4 March 2012. Murphy was joined in the applause by New York Air National Guard Col. Greg A. Semmel (second from right), incoming 174th Fighter Wing Commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Russell Youngs, 174th Fighter Wing Command Chief. (New York Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Released)
3/4/2012 - Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, NY -- After 20 years of distinguished service to the 174th Fighter Wing, including the last four as Wing Commander, Col. Kevin W. Bradley on 4 March 2012 relinquished command of the unit and was promoted to Director of Operations in the New York Air National Guard Headquarters, Latham, NY.
"It has been my honor to lead Hancock Field for the past four years," said Col. Bradley during the 4 March change-of-command ceremony where he turned over command of the 174th Fighter Wing to Col. Greg Semmel. "It has been an extraordinarily busy time for Hancock Field."
During Col. Bradley's tenure as Commander of the 174th Fighter Wing and Installation Commander of Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, he oversaw a number of significant milestones:
· Conversion of 174th Fighter Wing from F-16 Fighting Falcon to MQ-9 Reaper
· Stand-up of MQ-9 Field Training Detachment, the only MQ-9 formal maintenance schoolhouse in the U.S. Air Force
· Stand-up of MQ-9 24/7 combat operations and the 39th Combat Air Patrol
· Stand-up of MQ-9 Formal Training Unit, which is the only MQ-9 aircrew training facility in the Air National Guard, in less than six months
· Stand-up of MQ-9 launch and recovery facility at Fort Drum
· Activation of 222nd Command and Control Squadron which supports U.S. space operations
· Stand-up of the Hancock Field Joint Deployment Health and Wellness Center, the first of its kind in the Air National Guard
· Addition of numerous support mechanisms at Hancock Field, including full-time Director of Psychological Health, full-time Chaplain and full-time Command Chief
Despite all these achievements, Col. Bradley acknowledged that there are challenges ahead. "Our top priority moving forward is to obtain all necessary approvals to fly the MQ-9 off of Hancock Field in Syracuse."
Col. Bradley received his Air Force commission through the Officer Training School program in 1984. After serving in the United States Air Force, Col. Bradley joined the New York Air National Guard in 1992 where he has commanded frontline combat units at the squadron, group and wing level. He has served at the National Guard Bureau and the Headquarters United States Air Force.
Col. Bradley is a command pilot with over 3500 hours in the T-37, T-38, F-16 and MQ-9 aircraft. He has flown combat missions in support of Operation Provide Comfort, Operation Northern Watch, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He led the last two-ship formation to fly the F-16 off of Hancock Field in March 2010.
As part of his closing remarks, Col. Bradley encouraged all commanders to address issues in a collaborative way. "Regardless of rank, we have always attacked challenges in an open and transparent way."
Col. Bradley said the most important job of a commander is to take care of your people and their families. "You are only as good as your people. I have been blessed to work with some of the most outstanding Airmen in the Air National Guard."
Col. Bradley concluded by saying "I am humbled, honored and grateful to have been your commander."