Bancroft takes command of Contingency Response Group

Lt. Col. Bruce Bancroft (right), the new commander of the 123rd Contingency Response Group, accepts the group’s guidon from Col. David Mounkes, wing commander of the 123rd Airlift Wing, during a ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard base in Louisville, Ky., on Nov. 5, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Vicky Spesard)

Lt. Col. Bruce Bancroft (right), the new commander of the 123rd Contingency Response Group, accepts the group’s guidon from Col. David Mounkes, wing commander of the 123rd Airlift Wing, during a ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard base in Louisville, Ky., on Nov. 5, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Vicky Spesard)

KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- With family and colleagues looking on, Lt. Col. Bruce Bancroft assumed command of the 123rd Contingency Response Group during a ceremony here Nov. 5.

Presiding over the event was Col. David Mounkes, commander of the123rd Airlift Wing, who formally passed the group guidon to Bancroft, signifying his new position as leader of the only CRG in the Air National Guard.

"There is no one else as qualified as Bruce to lead this incredible group," said Mounkes, who himself served as CRG commander before assuming the wing leadership post earlier this year. "When we started the CRG back in 2008, we knew it was destined for great things.

"And now, you all are achieving those things," Mounkes told the audience, comprised mostly of CRG members. "I think it's fitting that you are going to have one of the best commanders in the entire country."

Bancroft previously served as commander of the 123rd Global Mobility Squadron here. Having transferred from the active-duty Air Force to the Kentucky Air National Guard in 2008, he began his KyANG career as operations officer and chief of standardization and evaluations for the newly formed CRG. In 2012, Bancroft was named commander of the 123rd Global Mobility Readiness Squadron.

Bancroft's operational experience includes deployments for Operations Iraqi Freedom, Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Tomodachi and Unified Response.

In 2014, Bancroft served as director of operations for Joint Task Force-Port Opening Senegal, an air cargo hub established and staffed primarily by members of the 123rd Contingency Response Group to coordinate the delivery of troops and supplies to West Africa during the largest Ebola virus outbreak in history. The hub, a key component of Operation United Assistance, processed 193 aircraft and 1,200 short tons of cargo during the unit's two-month deployment.

Bancroft also has served as the air advisor team chief supporting Building Partnership missions, and as an airfield assessment team chief for multiple locations throughout Jordan. As a command pilot, he has accumulated over 3,600 flight hours and more than 500 combat and combat-support hours in various aircraft.

"This last eight years has been the most chaotic, insane, nuts time I have ever had in my life," Bancroft said of his years with the CRG. "I wouldn't trade it for the world."

Bancroft is a graduate from the University of Louisville, where he received a bachelor's degree in biology. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force in 1996 and served as an active duty officer for 13 years before joining the Kentucky Air National Guard.