NFARS to welcome new commander

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Lucas Morrow
  • 914th Air Refueling Wing

With just two weeks to go, over 3,000 Niagara Airmen, DOD civilians, contractors and base partners eagerly await our next base commander.

Col. Carl J. Magnusson is scheduled to take the 914th Air Refueling Wing's guidon during an assumption of command ceremony in one of NFARS's newly renovated hangars on July 12, 2020 at 10 a.m. Fourth Air Force commander, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Pennington, is presiding over the ceremony. Pennington is responsible for ensuring the 914th and 17 other wings across the nation are well-led, organized, trained, equipped and ready to support national security requirements, so choosing the right commander is critical for mission success.

"NFARS has a long tradition of providing world-class airlift to the warfighter. I may tweak the words a bit, but the tradition of excellence will continue," says Magnusson. "We will provide four things; air refueling, airlift, aeromedical evacuation capabilities, and talent."

He emphasized talent encompasses the other three and says it defines the 914th as the ascendant air refueling wing in the Fourth Air Force.

The wing has a rich history in military airlift spanning seven decades of transporting personnel and cargo across the world, from flying "The Hump" in the C-47 Skytrain across the pacific theater of World War II to flying the C-130 Hercules in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

In 2017, the 914th transitioned from airlift to aerial refueling providing global reach and mobility to our warfighters. Magnusson will take command just months after his predecessor, retired Col. Mark Larson, declared the 914th and its inventory of eight KC-135 Stratotankers fully operational capable for the aerial refueling mission on April 1, 2020.

"I'd like to express my gratitude to Col. Mark Larson and the men and women of NFARS on achieving the full operational capability milestone," says Magnusson. "How you all handled the transition speaks to your character, sense of mission and potential."

Magnusson started his Air Force career in 1991 and transitioned to the Air Force Reserve in 1999 as a KC-135 instructor navigator and instructor pilot. His last assignment was the Chief, Plans Division, Directorate of Plans, Programs and Requirements at Air Force Reserve Command, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. Before coming to Niagara, he requalified as a KC-135 pilot at Altus Air Force Base, where several of his instructors trained with 914th ARW pilots for the mission transition.

"The 914th crews left a great impression on the faculty and staff at the KC-135 schoolhouse with their enthusiasm and willingness to embrace the new mission," says Magnusson. "That kind of can-do attitude will make us the unit of choice to get the mission done in the Northeast. Next is the ability to project our new capabilities, our talents, old and new, whenever asked, wherever tasked."

Magnusson says he, his wife Pauline and their kids are excited to join the 914th ARW family and become part of a 75-year tradition in Western New York, but when asked what he’s most excited to accomplish as commander he said, “continue the tradition. Continue to be a reliable friend and resolute neighbor to the community while providing fully mission capable forces to the Joint Fight. The transition phase is complete and FOC is achieved. The next steps include taking care of our Airmen and becoming exquisitely capable as we develop our skillsets in the full range of KC-135 Stratotanker missions."

Air Force tradition typically calls for inspection and review of assigned members, but DoD officials modified all ceremony protocol to accommodate physical distance standards during the Covid-19 pandemic. Ceremony attendance will be limited to accommodate the temporary protocol but Magnusson says if he could say one thing to our Niagara Airmen it would be:

"Thank you. Thank you for all that you do for your community and for our great nation," says Magnusson. "By standing watch over the skies of the Middle East or the emergency room in New York City, you continue to represent the best of America."

Those not able to attend the event are encouraged to watch the live broadcast.