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123rd Airlift Wing announces new leadership assignments

KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Col. Warren Hurst, commander of the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Airlift Wing, has announced new leadership assignments that will take effect here this weekend.

Col. Barry Gorter, current commander of the 123rd Operations Group, will assume the role of 123rd Airlift Wing vice commander during a ceremony to be held at 2:15 p.m. today in the Fuel Cell Hangar. The outgoing vice commander, Col. Robert Hamm, will take command of the 123rd Operations Group during the same ceremony.

Gorter's new post is a "traditional" position, which means he will fulfill vice commander duties as a drilling reservist. During the week, the day-to-day functions of vice commander will be handled by Lt. Col. Jeff Wilkinson, commander of the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron, who is being detailed to Wing Headquarters to serve as deputy air commander.

Maj. Sean McLane will act as commander of the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron in the interim.

Lt. Col. Nick Coleman, the current director of operations for the 165th Airlift Squadron, will assume command of the flying unit from Lt. Col. Shawn Dawley, who has been selected to complete a prestigious year-long fellowship at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. This change-of-command ceremony is scheduled for 9 a.m. today in the Aircrew Briefing Room.

Maj. Kevin Krauss will return from a year of study at National Intelligence University to assume command of the 123rd Force Support Squadron from Lt. Col. George Imorde, who has been selected to attend Air War College in residence. The FSS change-of-command ceremony is slated for Sunday at 9:30 a.m. in the Aircrew Briefing Room.

Lastly, Lt. Col. George Tomica, current commander of the 123rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, will become deputy commander of the 123rd Maintenance Group. Lt. Col. Chris Bishop, commander of the 123rd Maintenance Squadron, will assume Tomica's previous post when he takes charge of the 123rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron during a change-of-command ceremony scheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Fuel Cell Hangar.

Maj. Ash Groves, director of operations for the 123rd Global Mobility Squadron, will assume command of the 123rd Maintenance Squadron during the same ceremony.

"Please join me in congratulating these exceptional officers as they take on new leadership responsibilities and continue to expand their educations in the Profession of Arms," Hurst said.

Gorter has served as commander of the 123rd Operations Group since 2010. Before that, he was deputy commander of the 123rd Maintenance Group.

Gorter is a veteran of numerous combat missions, including Operations Restore Hope, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. In 2012, he served as deputy director of mobility forces at U.S. Central Command while deployed to Southwest Asia.

Hamm has served as vice commander of the 123rd Airlift Wing since January 2010. Prior to that, he was deputy commander of the 123rd Operations Group from July 2008 to September 2010.

Hamm deployed from October 2010 to January 2011 to Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, where he served as director of operations at the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, helping lead a unit that set new airlift and airdrop records in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

His military career also includes deployments in support of Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Provide Promise, Noble Eagle, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.

Coleman is a command pilot with more than 5,300 flying hours in a variety of military aircraft. He has deployed numerous times in support of OEF, OIF and U.S. Southern Command operations.

Wilkinson has been commander of the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron since June 2008. Before that, he was the unit's director of operations for two years.

Wilkinson has deployed overseas in support of numerous operations, including Uphold Democracy, OEF and OIF.

McLane has served as director of operations for the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron since June 2010. Prior to that, he was a flight commander in the unit.

Krauss served as chief of intelligence in the 123rd Operations Group from August 2009 until leaving the wing last year to attend National Intelligence University. Prior to that, he was the wing's anti-terrorism officer from November 2007 to August 2009.

Tomica has served as commander of the 123rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron since 2008. He previously served as commander of the 123rd Maintenance Squadron from 2004 to 2008.

Bishop has served as commander of the 123rd Maintenance Squadron since June 2008. Prior to that, he was an aircraft maintenance officer.

Groves has served as director of operations for the 123rd Global Mobility Squadron since 2006. He was recently named the 2012 Air Reserve Component Contingency Response Officer Performer of the Year.