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Pfeifer takes command of 123rd Mission Support Group

Col. Kathryn Pfeifer, former director of staff for Headquarters, Kentucky Air National Guard, assumes command of the 123rd Mission Support Group as she accepts the unit’s guidon from Col. Barry Gorter, commander of the 123rd Airlift Wing, during a change-of-command ceremony held at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., Aug 9, 2014. Pfeifer replaces Lt. Col. Matthew Stone (right), who is the new director of staff at Headquarters, Kentucky Air National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Joshua Horton)

Col. Kathryn Pfeifer, former director of staff for Headquarters, Kentucky Air National Guard, assumes command of the 123rd Mission Support Group as she accepts the unit’s guidon from Col. Barry Gorter, commander of the 123rd Airlift Wing, during a change-of-command ceremony held at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., Aug 9, 2014. Pfeifer replaces Lt. Col. Matthew Stone (right), who is the new director of staff at Headquarters, Kentucky Air National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Joshua Horton)

KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Col. Kathryn Pfeifer accepted the 123rd Mission Support Group guidon from Col. Barry Gorter, commander of the 123rd Airlift Wing, during a change-of-command ceremony here Aug. 9, becoming the group's newest leader.

Pfeifer recently made history in the Kentucky Air National Guard by becoming the first female line officer to attain the rank of colonel. As mission support group commander, she will direct the operations of more than 450 Airmen who provide base fire protection, security and force protection, civil engineering, disaster preparedness, communications and information technology services to the wing.

Pfeifer formerly served as the director of staff for Headquarters, Kentucky Air National Guard, and is replacing Lt. Col. Matt Stone, who will take the reins at Pfeifer's previous job in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Pfeifer graduated with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from North Carolina State University and received her commission through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1988. She began her military career in the missile maintenance field, troubleshooting technical issues with Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and launch facilities.

After four years, she transitioned into the civil engineering career field, filling various positions at different active-duty and Air National Guard wings, both in the United States and overseas for the next 14 years.

In 2000, after a two-year break in service, she joined the Kentucky Air National Guard. Three years later, she was mobilized in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and spent a tour of duty at Sather Air Base, Iraq, supporting civil engineering operations.

Upon her return, Pfeifer became the 123rd Airlift Wing inspector general. She followed the IG assignment by standing up the newly formed 123rd Force Support Squadron, merging the missions of the Military Personnel Flight and Services Flight under one guidon.

Pfeifer then moved to Headquarters in her former role as director of staff before being selected to replace Stone as the Mission Support Group commander.

As director of staff, Pfeifer advised the chief of staff for Headquarters, Kentucky Air National Guard, in the formulation of plans, policies and procedures, and provided coordination and staff assistance during state emergencies when the Air Guard was called to active duty. Pfeifer also reviewed projected personnel policy changes for impact on existing plans and programs.

"Col. Pfeifer, who will serve as a drill-status Guardsman, is ready to continue the success set forth by Lt. Col. Stone," said Kentucky's adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini. "As the 123rd Airlift Wing's first Force Support Squadron commander and a former civil engineering officer who deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Col. Pfeifer has the experience necessary to lead the wing's most diverse group of Airmen."