WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — There’s a new man in charge of the 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Air Force Base.
After serving two successful years as the commander at McConnell, Col. Nate Vogel relinquished command of the Air Force Base to incoming Col. Cory Damon in a Change of Command ceremony.
Col. Vogel has been promoted to a position within the Pentagon and left for Washington D.C. immediately following Friday’s ceremony.
The ceremony in a McConnell hangar began Friday morning with a presentation of the colors and the national anthem. Air Force Commander Major General Corey Martin presented a Legion of Merit medal to outgoing Col. Vogel.
“To the men and women of the 22nd Air Refueling Wing, with only a few minutes remaining in my time at McConnell, I can’t help but feel an incredible sense of pride looking back at everything that we accomplished over the last two years,” said Col. Vogel as he addressed the men and women who fly, fix and support the Air Refueling Wing.
Col. Vogel leaves after two years of leading the world’s largest and most diverse tanker wing and conducting worldwide operations in the KC-46 Pegasus and KC-135 Stratotanker. Under his watch, the KC-46 was declared worldwide deployable, and long-endurance flights became routine.
“What makes me most proud is that no one asked us to do this. You, the amazing airmen here at McConnell saw the need and pressed forward with bold initiatives and graduate-level risk understanding and acceptance that allowed us to realize our end stakes with a clear-eyed vision,” stated Col. Vogel.
With that, it was time for the change of command. The new commander, Col. Damon stepped up to the podium.
“My vision is to assist you in your collective journeys to prepare to counter any threat as a cohesive team, develop grit, and simply execute airpower with a winning scheme of maneuver in any theater. We shall lead. We are AR, and we will win. Let’s go! Thank you,” said Col. Damon. The assembled crowd of visitors and special guests erupted in applause.
The ceremony was attended by Representative Ron Estes, Wichita business leaders, and the mayors of six cities, including Wichita, Derby, Mulvane, Bel Aire, Andover and Haysville.
“Well, I’ve known Col. Vogel for a while now since he’s been here. And it’s just been a great relationship between the city of Haysville and McConnell Air Force Base, and just being able to see the change of command between the commanders. It’s a great experience,” said Haysville Mayor Russ Kessler.
“Col. Vogel and I have become very good friends over the last year and a half, and while I’m gonna miss him, I look forward to carrying on the friendship with Col. Damon as well,” said Andover Mayor Ronnie Price.
Col. Damon comes to McConnell from MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, where he served as a Vice Commander of an Aire Refueling Wing. He’s originally from Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University. Col. Damon says he’s happy to be close to his family in the Midwest.