121st ARW welcomes new commander
By Ralph Branson, 121st Air Refueling Wing
/ Published January 09, 2019
RICKENBACKER AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ohio --
The 121st Air Refueling Wing (ARW) recently held a change of command ceremony at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base.
After a busy three and a half years leading the 121st ARW, Col. Mark Auer relinquished command to Col. David Johnson.
The ceremony was presided over by the Ohio Assistant Adjutant General for Air, Col. James Camp, who offered some words of praise for Auer: “When you look at the hangar renovation, the track, the massive simulator complex, he has left an indelible mark on this unit and I will be forever grateful for his service.”
Auer is slated to assume a position at the Ohio National Guard Joint Force State Headquarters.
Johnson began his career as an enlisted jet engine mechanic on A7-D Corsair IIs with the 121st Tactical Fighter Wing. After graduating from The Ohio State University, he earned a commission and put on his pilot’s wings in 1995.
The new commander has leadership and combat experience in contingency operations and has held numerous leadership positions in the Ohio National Guard, including squadron commander and most recently the 179th Airlift Wing Operations Group commander.
With regards to Johnson, “His passion for this unit is unbelievable, and when we told Dave (Col. Johnson) he was to command the 121st ARW, it was a dream come true for him and his family,” said Camp.
During the ceremony, Johnson presented his wife with flowers, introduced her to the wing, and said, “Meet your new family.” The formation responded with applause.
The 121st ARW continuously delivers worldwide air refueling, disaster response and combat support. The unit regularly supports the Pacific Air Forces, and are routinely operationally gained by Air Mobility Command to participate in contingency operations, thus leading to one of Auer’s favorite sayings during his tenure as commander, “The sun never sets on the 121st.”
Camp added, “I would argue, the 121st is by far, the most operationally focused and busy tanker unit in the Air National Guard, and you should be proud of what you accomplished.”
Johnson, who was happy to be home and grateful for the opportunity to command the wing, encouraged everyone “to own your ten square feet so you can help your wingman next to you, and when we put that together, we are unstoppable.”