Colonel Perez Assumes Command of the 171st Air Refueling Wing
By Staff Sgt. Michael Fariss, 171st Air Refueling Wing
/ Published August 14, 2015
CORAOPOLIS, Pa. (Aug. 2, 2015) -- Col. Gregg A. Perez formally assumed command of the 171st Air Refueling Wing during an Assumption of Command ceremony held here today.
The formal ceremony began at 10 a.m. with approximately 1,200 guardsmen in attendance, as well as Perez's family, media and Brig. Gen. Anthony J. Carrelli, who presided of the Assumption of Command. The base's Honor Guard posted the colors during the ceremony.
"We are privileged to be turning over this command to an outstanding leader, dedicated officer, and superior role-model for all our Airmen to follow," said Carrelli.
Carrelli, the Deputy Adjutant General-Air Pa. NG, handed the flag to Perez, which symbolizes his command of the 171st ARW. Perez, who replaced retired Col. Edward E. "Ted" Metzgar, previously was the 171st ARW vice commander. He is the 21st commander of the wing.
"I am completely honored and humbled to stand in front of you," said Perez. "I am beyond proud to call the 171st Air Refueling Wing my home and where I choose to be."
The setting was a hangar on base, with a KC-135 refueling tanker displayed outside as a backdrop. The KC-135 was a plane flown by Perez throughout his military career. After the ceremony, the plane was available to tour for those in attendance. This included Perez's children, Jack, age 13, Grace, age 9, and Henry, age 8, who immediately entered the aircraft after the ceremony. Each child had a turn sitting in the cockpit, just like their father had for many years.
"I thank each and everyone here today for your support, your dedication and your sacrifice in making this Wing the finest in the United States Air Force," stated Perez.
Besides his children, Perez's wife, Rory, parents, mother-in-law and father-in-law were in attendance. Retired Brig. Gen. William J. Boardley and retired Brig. Gen. Peter R. Phillipy, both former wing commanders of the 171st ARW, also were present. The two retired commanders spoke with Perez for approximately 15 minutes after the ceremony.
Perez entered the Air Force in September of 1987 where he was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. through Officer Training School at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. In 1992, he joined the Pa. Air National Guard as a member of the 112th Air Refueling Group of the 171st ARW located near the Pittsburgh International Airport. Perez served as Vice Wing Commander of the 171st ARW since 2013.
"I promise you that I will be the best Wingman to you as possible,' said Perez. "I challenge everyone here to do the same."