Twenty six years ago, a Savannah teenager named Ronald Speir enlisted in the 117th Air Control Squadron of the Georgia Air National Guard.
Saturday at Hunter Army Airfield, Lt. Col. Ron Speir became commander of the 117th, a unit he called “the best damn air control squadron in the United States Air Force and the Air National Guard.”
“It’s a very special honor for me,” said Speir, who now resides in Richmond Hill. “Being a local Savannah boy and growing up here and enlisting in the squadron in 1987 and then spending almost 26 years here, and now being asked to lead squadron I grew up in, it’s just a wonderful honor.”
Speir is a full-time member of the Air National Guard. He assumes command of the 117th mere months before the 186-member unit makes its third major deployment since the 9/11 terrorist attacks — the 117th is headed to the Persian Gulf in November for a six-month stay in support of air defense efforts in the Gulf, he said.
Speir, who assumed command from Lt. Col. Victor Long, also a Savannah native, thanked his wife, Brenda, and daughters, Hayley and Ella, for their support and understanding. He also said there were some anxious moments as the days ticked down to his taking command.
“It’s kind of like getting married. It’s a relief to finally get it over with,” he said. “I’m glad to get the guidon in my hands and accept the challenge.”
Read full story in Aug. 7 issue of the Bryan County News.