Command of the New Hampshire Air National Guard changed hands during a ceremony held beneath the wings of a KC-46A refueler at Pease Air National Guard Base.
In a symbol of the transfer, outgoing commander Brig. Gen. Laurie Farris passed the organizational guidon to incoming commander Brig. Gen. Jed French on Saturday.
French, a traditional guardsmen who is a district court judge in Maine, assumed command after serving as the N.H. Air National Guard (NHANG) chief of staff since 2018. He will be responsible for overseeing 1,300 airmen, ensuring they are prepared for both federal and state missions, according to a news release from the 157th Air Refueling Wing.
French enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1983. He served as a cavalry scout for two years, patrolling the East German-West German border. After a break in service, he received a direct commission in the NHANG, serving in various roles and deploying multiple times. He also served as the staff judge advocate for the 157th Air Refueling Wing from 2002-12.
After receiving command, French spoke of the dedication of the men and women of the NHANG, especially in overcoming the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I promise to do my best to support you every day I continue to serve,” French said.
Farris, who had served as NHANG commander since 2018, will work as the Air National Guard assistant to the commander of Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
NH Adjutant Gen. David Mikolaities presided over the ceremony. He spoke of Farris’ support of airmen during her tenure and the key role she played in the selection of the 157th ARW as the recipient of the Air Force’s newest aerial refueler, the KC-46A Pegasus.
Farris, promoted to the rank of major general, was thanked for her more than 25 years of service to Pease and NH Air National Guard.