McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base --
Air National Guard troops commemorated several milestones during the Jan. 6 unit training assembly at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base. Airmen assembled in the early afternoon to bid farewell to their outgoing commander, Col. Vincent Franklin. Before the unit guidon could change hands in the traditional symbol of transferring authority, it had to go through a few iterations—much like the unit itself.
The 119th Cyberspace Operations Squadron used to be called the Command and Control Squadron when it supported United States Strategic Air Command. Some members of the 119 COS, including Franklin, came to the unit when the 228th Combat Communications Squadron was disbanded. The 228 CBCS was never ceremonially deactivated, however, so the old unit members gathered at the change of command ceremony to bid it a final farewell.
“The 228th always carried itself with distinction,” said Brig. Gen. Donald Johnson, the Assistant Adjutant General, Air, for the Tennessee National Guard. “It’s good we can turn the page today and move on to the next chapter.”
“This simple ceremony represented a lot of hard work on moving the 228th to the 119th, and now the new mission change,” Franklin added. The crowd stood while Franklin rolled up the guidons of the 228 CBCS and 119 CCS.
Franklin spent time as the commander of both units, first leading the 228 CBCS’s support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Hurricane Gustav humanitarian relief. As the 119 CCS Commander, he led the Air National Guard cyber weapons system, supporting more than 15 cyber squadrons and the Air Force Information Network.
Franklin will now move on to Nashville, where he will serve as the Chief of Staff of the Tennessee Air National Guard. Incoming commander Lt. Col. Chris Smith will take his place commanding the 119 COS.
Smith previously served as the commander of the 241st Engineer Installation Squadron in Chattanooga supporting combat and domestic missions. Before that, he served as an expeditionary logistics officer in the Navy.
“Always be looking to take this unit and evolve it to meet the future needs—not the present needs—of the National Guard,” Franklin told Smith before he handed over the new squadron guidon. Smith thanked the unit and thanked Franklin, whom he considers a mentor.
“Thank you so much for the opportunity,” Smith said. “I look forward to serving this squadron and you all.”