121st change of command Published July 21, 2015 By Senior Airman Wendy Kuhn 121st Air Refueling Wing RICKENBACKER AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ohio -- Col. Mark D. Auer assumed command of the 121st Air Refueling Wing from Col. Jim Jones, the previous wing commander, during a change of command ceremony at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, Ohio, July 12, 2015. Col. Auer said he and his wife Nancy felt blessed to become part of the 121st team. "We are proud of your achievements that have stretched across the decades, humbled by your continued answer to this nation's call, and grateful to serve alongside each and every one of you," said Auer. As the 121 ARW wing commander, Auer is responsible to the Ohio Assistant Adjutant General for Air for ensuring the 1,100 Airmen in the wing are ready to deploy in support of both homeland defense and federal missions. Auer received his commission in 1987 and after training, was stationed at RAF Lakenheath. As an F-111 aircraft commander, he deployed in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He also deployed in support of Operation Provide Comfort before joining the 169th Fighter Squadron for the Illinois Air National Guard in 1993. In addition to serving as a traditional guardsman for more than 16 years, Auer was a successful business executive, management consultant and adjunct professor of business. He also deployed as a C-130 aircraft commander in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Auer transferred to the Ohio Air National Guard in 2013 and assumed command of the 179th Operations Group. Col. Jones will retire, and has been appointed by the State of Ohio to serve on the Board of Directors of the BRIGHT New Leaders for Ohio Schools pilot project as he transitions to a civilian career. "I feel very blessed," said Jones. "My time here at the 121st has been the richest part of my career. I will miss the great Airmen that I have had the honor and privilege to serve with."