F-22 Raptor News

27 FS experiences change in command

March 8, 2010 (by SSgt. Heidi Davis) - The 27th Fighter Squadron changed commanders during a ceremony here March 5 in the squadron hangar.

Col. Dirk Smith, 1st OG commander, passes the guideon to Lt. Col. Pete Fesler, the new 27th FS commander on March 5th, 2010 in the 27 FS hangar. Lt. Col. Lansing Pilch relinquished command to Colonel Fesler after serving nearly two years as commander. [USAF photo by SrA. Zachary Wolf]

Lt. Col. Pete "Coach" Fesler took command from Lt. Col. Lansing "Shudda" Pilch, who is leaving to become a 1st Operations Group deputy commander.

Presiding over the ceremony, Col. Dirk Smith, 1st OG commander, took a few moments to address the outgoing and incoming commanders.

"There are three words that come to mind when I think of Shudda: cool, steady-handed, precision," Colonel Smith said with a grin. "He doesn't say a whole lot, he just gets the job done." Turning to Pilch in a more serious tone of voice, he continued. "Your leadership is a testament that if you take care of your people, they will take care of you.

"Coach, the 27th Fighter Squadron will hone you, exhilarate you and at times, exhaust you. Just take a moment, when you get to the top of your ladder and before you step into the cockpit, to look around and thank all the men and women holding you on their shoulders in order to launch that sortie," Colonel Smith wisely advised.

As promised, Colonel Smith kept his words short and promptly handed the floor to Colonel Pilch.

"In the past two years, I've met former fighters and from them, learned two things: the 2-7 is America's oldest and greatest, and it's a privilege to lead it," Colonel Pilch reminisced. After naming the many Air Force-level awards attained by the squadron, he chuckled and said, "I kind of wish you would screw up every once in awhile, so I could practice this leadership stuff I keep hearing about.

"... Men and women, I am so proud of you, and former commanders would be proud of you, too," he continued. "You have lived up to this great tradition, and I am honored to have served with you."

After Colonel Pilch closed with his remarks and the guideon passed, the men and women of the 27 FS rendered their first salute to their new commander.

"I am truly humbled and honored to be standing here today," Colonel Fesler said, turning to his squadron. "I know the sacrifices you make and the work you do is vital. I am proud to join the Fightin' Eagles and have my name added to its long line of leaders."

Colonel Fesler is a senior pilot with over 1,600 hours primarily in the F-15C Eagle and F-22 Raptor. He has logged more than 55 combat missions in the skies over Iraq and participated in numerous joint and international large force exercises.


Courtesy of 633d Air Base Wing Public Affairs

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Additional images:

Lt. Col. Pete Fesler, new 27th FS commander, addresses his squadron during the change-of-command ceremony on March 5th, 2010 in the 27 FS hangar. Lt. Col. Lansing Pilch relinquished command to Colonel Fesler after serving nearly two years as commander. [USAF photo by SrA. Zachary Wolf]