149th Fighter Squadron welcomes new commander

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Bryan Myhr
  • 192nd Wing Public Affairs

The 149th Fighter Squadron, Virginia Air National Guard, welcomed Lt. Col. William J. Shnowske as the new squadron commander during a change of command ceremony August 8, 2020, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

Shnowske took command of the unit from Lt. Col. Gregory R. Ebert during the ceremony which was broadcasted live via social media for members of the VaANG, friends, and family to witness and show support. Ebert served as the commander since May 4, 2019. 

“[Ebert] and his leadership team have ensured that we have balanced these priorities of Airmen and readiness during his exceptional time as commander,” said Col. Chris P. Batterton, 192nd Operations Group commander. “He worked long hours,... and spent time getting to know his Airmen making him an incredibly effective leader and commander.”

Ebert joined the U.S. Air Force in 2000 and has been assigned to the 149th FS since 2012. He has served as the weapons officer, assistant director of operations, and director of operations. He is an F-22 evaluator pilot with over 1,800 hours in fighter aircraft.

Shnowske was commissioned in the Air Force in 2000 and joined the 149th FS in July 2013 serving as the assistant director of operations. His career took him to many important roles making him one of the ANG’s top experts on fighter modernization initiatives. He is a command pilot with over 2,400 flying hours and more than 400 hours of combat flying time.

“Your reputation as an instructor pilot in three different fighters combined with your credibility as a leader, having held various squadron, group and wing positions, and most recently, MAJCOM staff officer, supporting the ANG with nationwide impact, you make the perfect choice for this command,” Batterton said to Shnowske. “You make the perfect choice for this command. I’m excited to see where you and your leadership team will take the 149th Fighter Squadron.”

“To the members of the 149th, I am extremely humbled and excited for this opportunity,” said Shnowske. “As we’ve seen time after time, when our nation needs air power, Langley gets the call, and we get the call.”

He went on to praise Ebert for his efforts during his tenure. “Your untiring efforts to advance the F-22 and the VaANG are amazing... You’ve built an all-star team. I feel privileged to follow in your footsteps and endeavor to uphold the high standard that you have set.”

The change of command ceremony is a military tradition rooted in history in which uniquely developed flags for each organization are publicly exchanged from the hands of the former commander to the hands of the new commander. This ceremony symbolically marks the change of leadership in military organizations.