Change of command coming to 173rd Fighter Wing

Klamath Falls, Ore. – The 173rd Fighter Wing will soon be undergoing a change of management.

The Fighter Wing Commander serves as ‘principal’ of the F-15 schoolhouse.

Colonel Jeff Smith became Wing Commander just over 3 years ago.

He’ll be passing the torch to Colonel Jeff Edwards in June.

Smith and Edwards have known each other for years.

In an interview conducted by 173rd Public Affairs, Colonel Edwards and Colonel Smith reflected on their professional friendship.

“I first met you in what, 1992?”  Questioned Edwards.  “Of course, we started at the same time at the Air Force Academy.”

“June 27th, 1991.”  Answered Smith.

The two flew together at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, and also in Alaska.

“Everywhere we went, we overlapped for short periods of time.”  Notes Col. Smith.

Their paths converged again at Kingsley Field.

Smith says he has great respect for Edwards.  “I admire his ability to listen to people, I admire his ability to  view their perspectives, contemplate, and then in a calm, rational, unemotional fashion, help and guide the discussion.”

Edwards will assume command of the 173rd Fighter Wing June first.

“I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned is the importance of follow-up.”  Col. Edwards says, reflecting on lessons learned from Col. Smith.

“I think Kingsley is in good hands.”  Counters Smith.  “I look forward to watching Thug (Edwards callsign), coming and being on the sidelines just to cheerlead, and to admire how he runs this wing – so it’s going to be good stuff.”

The two men’s careers have run so parallel that some have confused Smith and Edwards with each other.

In fact, they share a car insurance agent – who once accidentally put Smith’s records into Edwards’ file.

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