FORT SMITH, Ark. --
The 188th Wing conducted a formal change of command ceremony at the Fort Smith Convention Center here, August 11, 2019, as it bid farewell to Wing Commander Col. Robert I. Kinney, who relinquished command to Col. Leon J. Dodroe.
The ceremony was presided over by Brig. Gen. Thomas D. Crimmins, Arkansas National Guard air component commander, and attended by hundreds of 188th Airmen, former wing members and state and local dignitaries.
“Col. Dodroe, I know these Airmen in front of us believe in you” said Crimmins. “I also know that you believe in them, and together you will soar to even greater heights.
Dodroe has served as the wing’s vice commander since September 2017, and is a 26-year combat veteran of both the U.S. Army and Air Force. He is a command pilot with more than 4,300 hours in both remotely piloted and rotary-wing aircraft and has deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and other operations throughout his career.
Dodroe thanked the former leaders and Airmen who laid the foundation for the wing’s current success, and challenged the unit to overcome any obstacles in its path.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead this organization and tremendously optimistic about our future,” Dodroe said. “I am extremely proud of your accomplishments and thank you for your passion, service, and dedication to duty… As the Flying Razorbacks say: 'ATTACK!'”
Kinney has been the wing’s commander since 2017, during which time the wing has earned high distinction within the RPA and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance communities and a reputation for excellence. Kinney was recently named the Chief, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief National Mission Initiative under the newly-established Joint Artificial Intelligence Center in Arlington, Virginia.
Kinney showcased some of the wing’s many successes during his tenure, giving all credit for those accomplishments to the efforts of the 188th’s Airmen.
“This is what it looks like when we get to ‘yes,’” he said. “I’m so proud of what each and every one of you has done, and I know you will accomplish so much more under the leadership team of Col. Dodroe and [Wing Command Chief Master Sergeant] Chief Donnie Frederick.”
The Arkansas Air National Guard's 188th Wing is based at Ebbing Air National Guard Base in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The 188th Wing features three primary mission sets: the MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; and space-focused targeting. The 188th Wing is composed of more than 1,000 dedicated, loyal and highly-trained Airmen who take immense pride in fulfilling their roles and obligations as National Guardsmen and Airmen.