192nd Operations Group promotes deputy commander to group commander

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Eugene Silvers and Staff Sgt. Kellyann Elish
  • 192nd Wing

The 192nd Operations Group, 192nd Wing, Virginia Air National Guard, welcomed a new commander during a change of command ceremony March 1, 2024, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Virginia.

Col. Brock E. Lange, 192nd Wing commander, presided over the ceremony where Col. Philip J. Colomy relinquished command of the 192nd OG to newly promoted Col. Andrew M. Weidner.

"There are countless accolades and achievements that I can go through today to tell you about what the Operations Group has done while Rudy was in command, but I'll choose two words, and that’s HooDoo Sea," said Lange. "This is an event that shows the VaANG’s focus on Great Power Competition and Agile Combat Employment and our ability, in our very nature, our desire to integrate and innovate - what the VaANG stands for today."

"For two years, our efforts and those of our mission partners were made better and breathed into existence by your steady hand," Lange addressed Colomy. "And at the end of your watch, the OG is filled with experienced, credible Airmen united by service and ready for what will come next. We don't seek to fight, we seek to deter, but we are more ready to do both because of you. So thank you, you should be very proud."

Colomy served as the 192nd OG commander from February 2022 to March 2024 and was presented with the Legion of Merit. He is continuing his military service as the Virginia National Guard J3 director of operations.

"Your dedication is astounding," Colomy addressed the 192nd OG Airmen. "And you have consistently proven to be amazing TFI [Total Force Integration] partners as well. From volunteering to go on orders and to augmenting the active duty to help them with any manning or skill level shortfalls, to constantly stepping up to volunteer for mobilizations and deployments to get the job done, you never shrink from a challenge. And, you always do what is necessary to get the mission accomplished. You do all this while balancing family commitments, and in many cases civilian employment, which is no small task. The sacrifices you and your family make on a daily basis ensure that everyone in this country will rest easy, knowing that the United States military will protect them. It's been my honor to be your commander. Thank you for your service and commitment to defend freedom."

As Weidner assumed command of the 192nd OG, Lange praised him, highlighted his value to the organization and expressed excitement to see him take command.

"On behalf of both us and the 1st [Fighter Wing], you are absolutely invaluable to both organizations," Lange addressed Weidner. "The ops group as a whole could not run without you, and I’m so excited to see you lead it from the front."

"It's not about the rank or the title, it's about the leadership and the honing of the craft of leading Airmen," continued Lange. "You have been, for a long time, very good at leading in the airplane, and it took a while to get good at that. And just like that, it takes a while to be good at leading Airmen. And now, you have to lead leaders. Now, you have to empower those leaders to do what you have asked them to do - empowering citizen airmen to set aside their lives, one weekend a month, a couple weeks a year, and when our nation calls…The COS [Cyberspace Operations Squadron], the IS [Intelligence Squadron], and the Weather Flight are filled with incredible Airmen with unique and challenging missions that have absolutely nothing to do with flying F-22s, or at least only adjacent. So it's important that we remember that most of the people in your group don't do F-22 things. It's critical that you understand the challenges that they have, and there is no person in this organization, in this entire wing, who is more invested in those challenges [than you] because you’ve been living them the last two years. We serve the commonwealth, we serve the nation, and we serve each other."

Weidner, a command pilot with more than 1,600 flying hours in fighter aircraft, joined the VaANG’s 149th Fighter Squadron in November 2015 as a dual status Guardsman and federal technician. While in the VaANG, he served as an assistant director of operations and transitioned to the Active Guard and Reserve in 2016. He deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, led multiple Operation Noble Eagle sorties and participated in many joint and multinational exercises. Prior to taking command, Weidner was the deputy commander of the 192nd OG.

Weidner emphasized change when addressing the Airmen of the 192nd OG.  

"The tactics, or whatever you did yesterday, are not going to work today, which are not going to work tomorrow, so we're all going to fail and that’s okay," said Weidner. "I think we need to redefine what failure actually is. Failure would be not trying. Failure would be not learning from the mistakes that we’re going to make. And, we’re going to make those together because at the end of the day, the goal is always going to be the same. How we get there is going to change; it’s going to have to change rapidly."

The 192nd Operations Group is composed of the 149th Fighter Squadron, the 192nd Operation Support Squadron, the 185th Cyberspace Operations Squadron, the 192nd Intelligence Squadron and the 200th Weather Flight. Weidner is now responsible for ensuring the readiness of more than 300 Guardsmen in over 18 Air Force specialty codes.