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Col. Kornberg takes lead at wing’s 20th change of command

  • Published
  • By Capt. Rebecca Solosabal
  • 124th Fighter Wing

The Idaho Air National Guard’s 124th Fighter Wing welcomed a new commander Nov. 7, 2021, at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho, at its 20th change of command ceremony since its founding 75 years ago.

Col. Chad Kornberg took lead of the wing from Col. Shannon Smith in front of Guardsmen, community leaders, family and friends.

Brig. Gen. Tim Donnellan, assistant adjutant general–air, Idaho Air National Guard, presided over the ceremony and recounted some of the wing’s history.

“Today marks the 20th change of command that the 124th Fighter Wing has had since 1946,” said Donnellan, as he highlighted events from the wing’s World War II heritage, to the Guard’s transition from a strategic to an operational reserve following Desert Storm, and finally to the unit’s last two deployments being the largest in the organization’s history.

“Despite all of that and all those leadership challenges we’ve seen over the years, I have seen nothing like the leadership challenges of the last two years, in particular with a global pandemic,” said Donnellan. “I can tell you we had the right leadership team, with Col. Smith and his team, at the right place, at the right time.”

Smith took charge in May 2019, and under his command, Airmen from the wing completed the second largest deployment in the unit’s history and the first cyber squadron deployment, participated in a major warfighter exercise with the Idaho Army National Guard, and assisted civil authorities throughout multiple state missions to include support of Idaho’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I want to express gratitude for the opportunity to command…,” said Smith. “I want to express gratitude to this amazing fighter wing for the past two and half years. I’ve learned more about leading and serving, humility, grace, teamwork, connection, sorrow, joy, vulnerability, and courage than I ever thought possible. We truly have something special here, and it’s each of you.”

Smith relinquished command to accept a new position as the Director of Operations at Joint Force Headquarters.

As Col. Kornberg accepted accountability of the wing, he also touted the Airmen in the unit.

“To the men and women of the 124th Fighter Wing, simply put, I am in awe of what you have proven to be within the realm of possible. I could speak for hours on the accomplishments of individual deployments and large-scale movements…,” said Kornberg, who has served in the Idaho Air National Guard since 1996.
“Col. Kornberg has extensive experience in leadership, starting at the flight, squadron, and group, and I know that experience is going to lead him to help you get over the challenges we’ve got in front of us,” said Donnellan.

Kornberg earned his commission in 1997. Shortly after commissioning he completed undergraduate pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. While in the IDANG, he flew the A-10 Warthog and held command positions in various squadrons. His most recent command was as the 124th Maintenance Group commander. He has deployed in support of Operations Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to guide the wing, but even more so, I am committed to the well-being of our Airmen and their families,” said Kornberg.

“You can count on the fact that I will do my best each and every day to keep the distractions outside the gate and provide you the tools and resources to keep your focus on what is most important – our people and the mission,” he said. “I’m proud to be a Guardsmen of the great state of Idaho, and I’m proud to serve alongside each and every one of you. Go Guard. Attack.”