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Zelk takes reins as new 188th Med Group commander

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman John Hillier
  • 188th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Lt. Col. Misty M. Zelk assumed command of the 188th Medical Group from Col. Paul E. Norris, at a change of command ceremony Aug. 4, 2013.

"Lt. Col. Zelk has great challenges ahead," said Col. Mark W. Anderson, 188th Fighter Wing commander. "She has a fabulous team in place and is the right leader for the job. Under her command the medical group will rise to new heights."

Zelk's career has intertwined with the 188th Fighter Wing for many years. During the ceremony she recounted her journey thus far, from the Army National Guard to the Air National Guard, and how Airmen from the 188th helped nudge her along the path to her present position.

"I am honored to be standing before you today as the 188th Medical group commander," Zelk said. "I credit the 188th with my Air Force career, and with the fact that I'm even still in the military today, so it seems fitting that my military career culminates here.

"When Hurricane Katrina hit, I had to spend several weeks - including Thanksgiving - in Port Sulfur, La. The volunteers from the 188th showed up and what most impressed me about them was their compassion and their heart. So when it came time for me to leave the Army, I knew exactly what to do. Within days after returning, I had contacted a recruiter and I was sworn-in a few days later."

Zelk took a position with the 189th Airlift Wing in order to be closer to her family, but she didn't stay away from the 188th for long. In 2009 the 188th and 189th Medical Groups did a joint medical exercise in Guatemala, and was once again side by side with Airmen of the 188th.

"Guatemala was my very first time working with Lt. Col. Zelk, but I felt like I knew her," said Capt. Bridgette Scott, medical administrative officer, and the unit planner during the Guatemala exercise. "Getting the medication together for the pharmacy, working in the villages, all the people we served. The people we were taking care of - making sure everyone got what they needed. It was just all the way around awesome. She was just flat-out great to work with, and now that she's going to come here, I'm very excited."

During his remarks, former 188th Med Group commander Norris had praise to offer the incoming group commander, and a challenge for the medical group members as well.

"Change and transition is often difficult, but you know this is only the start," Norris said. "I've known Lt. Col. Zelk for many years. I've served with her in Guatemala. She's a very caring person with a great deal of knowledge. I am confident that with your support, and Lt. Col. Zelk's leadership, you will take the medical group to the next level and face the challenges ahead."

During his service as group commander, Norris oversaw support for 916 deploying 188th Airmen. He also volunteered to lead an Agricultural Development Team in Afghanistan in 2011. As a result of his leadership, the team was able to educate more than 1,200 farmers about modern agricultural techniques, and help boost the productivity and quality of Afghan farming. Norris earned the Combat Action Badge and was awarded a Bronze Star, becoming only the third 188th member to receive that award.

"For me, it all begins and ends with family," Norris said. "Most of the success I had, I attribute to my family, friends and colleagues. They have really supported me throughout the years. Family members make huge sacrifices and bear the consequences of our commitments to our country that we make. I remember first coming to the medical group as a public health officer and the 188th Medical Group has been my family ever since."

Zelk takes reins as new 188th Med Group commander

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman John Hillier
  • 188th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Lt. Col. Misty M. Zelk assumed command of the 188th Medical Group from Col. Paul E. Norris, at a change of command ceremony Aug. 4, 2013.

"Lt. Col. Zelk has great challenges ahead," said Col. Mark W. Anderson, 188th Fighter Wing commander. "She has a fabulous team in place and is the right leader for the job. Under her command the medical group will rise to new heights."

Zelk's career has intertwined with the 188th Fighter Wing for many years. During the ceremony she recounted her journey thus far, from the Army National Guard to the Air National Guard, and how Airmen from the 188th helped nudge her along the path to her present position.

"I am honored to be standing before you today as the 188th Medical group commander," Zelk said. "I credit the 188th with my Air Force career, and with the fact that I'm even still in the military today, so it seems fitting that my military career culminates here.

"When Hurricane Katrina hit, I had to spend several weeks - including Thanksgiving - in Port Sulfur, La. The volunteers from the 188th showed up and what most impressed me about them was their compassion and their heart. So when it came time for me to leave the Army, I knew exactly what to do. Within days after returning, I had contacted a recruiter and I was sworn-in a few days later."

Zelk took a position with the 189th Airlift Wing in order to be closer to her family, but she didn't stay away from the 188th for long. In 2009 the 188th and 189th Medical Groups did a joint medical exercise in Guatemala, and was once again side by side with Airmen of the 188th.

"Guatemala was my very first time working with Lt. Col. Zelk, but I felt like I knew her," said Capt. Bridgette Scott, medical administrative officer, and the unit planner during the Guatemala exercise. "Getting the medication together for the pharmacy, working in the villages, all the people we served. The people we were taking care of - making sure everyone got what they needed. It was just all the way around awesome. She was just flat-out great to work with, and now that she's going to come here, I'm very excited."

During his remarks, former 188th Med Group commander Norris had praise to offer the incoming group commander, and a challenge for the medical group members as well.

"Change and transition is often difficult, but you know this is only the start," Norris said. "I've known Lt. Col. Zelk for many years. I've served with her in Guatemala. She's a very caring person with a great deal of knowledge. I am confident that with your support, and Lt. Col. Zelk's leadership, you will take the medical group to the next level and face the challenges ahead."

During his service as group commander, Norris oversaw support for 916 deploying 188th Airmen. He also volunteered to lead an Agricultural Development Team in Afghanistan in 2011. As a result of his leadership, the team was able to educate more than 1,200 farmers about modern agricultural techniques, and help boost the productivity and quality of Afghan farming. Norris earned the Combat Action Badge and was awarded a Bronze Star, becoming only the third 188th member to receive that award.

"For me, it all begins and ends with family," Norris said. "Most of the success I had, I attribute to my family, friends and colleagues. They have really supported me throughout the years. Family members make huge sacrifices and bear the consequences of our commitments to our country that we make. I remember first coming to the medical group as a public health officer and the 188th Medical Group has been my family ever since."