Kennedy to Command Maintenance

Airmen of the 177th Fighter Wing Maintenance Group stand at parade rest during the Change of Command ceremony April 22, 2012.  Col. Kerry M. Gentry, commander of the 177th Fighter Wing and former 177th Maintenance Group commander turned over the Maintenance Group command to Col. Patrick M. Kennedy.  The 177th Fighter Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard, is located at Egg Harbor Township, N.J.  U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen

Airmen of the 177th Fighter Wing Maintenance Group stand at parade rest during the Change of Command ceremony April 22, 2012. Col. Kerry M. Gentry, commander of the 177th Fighter Wing and former 177th Maintenance Group commander turned over the Maintenance Group command to Col. Patrick M. Kennedy. The 177th Fighter Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard, is located at Egg Harbor Township, N.J. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen

Airmen of the 177th Fighter Wing Maintenance Group render final salute to outgoing maintenance commander Col. Kerry M. Gentry, now commander of the 177th Fighter Wing, during the 177th Maintenance Group Change of Command ceremony April 22, 2012.  Gentry, the former Maintenance Group commander turned over command to Col. Patrick M. Kennedy.  The 177th Fighter Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard, is located at Egg Harbor Township, N.J.  U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen

Airmen of the 177th Fighter Wing Maintenance Group render final salute to outgoing maintenance commander Col. Kerry M. Gentry, now commander of the 177th Fighter Wing, during the 177th Maintenance Group Change of Command ceremony April 22, 2012. Gentry, the former Maintenance Group commander turned over command to Col. Patrick M. Kennedy. The 177th Fighter Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard, is located at Egg Harbor Township, N.J. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen

Incoming 177th Fighter Wing Maintenance Group commander Col. Patrick M. Kennedy, addresses dignitaries, Airmen, friends and family members during the Change of Command ceremony April 22, 2012.  The 177th Fighter Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard, is located at Egg Harbor Township, N.J.  U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen

Incoming 177th Fighter Wing Maintenance Group commander Col. Patrick M. Kennedy, addresses dignitaries, Airmen, friends and family members during the Change of Command ceremony April 22, 2012. The 177th Fighter Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard, is located at Egg Harbor Township, N.J. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen

Egg Harbor Township, NJ -- It's all about expectations and opportunities.

That's what Col. Patrick M. Kennedy, the 177th Fighter Wing's new Maintenance Group commander stressed in his speech during the Change of Command ceremony that took place in the main hangar April 22.

"Here's what you can expect for me; I will work to ensure every member of this organization is treated and feels like a valued member of the group, whether you are an Airman first class in the orderly room; a staff sergeant loading munitions on the flight line or a crew chief sitting alert," said Kennedy. "What you do matters."

"I will work tirelessly to get you the resources you need to perform your duties effectively and efficiently. I will work with complete transparency - or in other words, I will call it as I see it and be clear on my intentions on all issues regarding our personnel."

During the ceremony, former Maintenance Group commander and now Wing commander Col. Kerry M. Gentry handed over command to Kennedy.

Kennedy, the former 108th Wing Maintenance Group commander and a 21-year veteran of the New Jersey Air National Guard, has deployed in support of both Operation's Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in business from Richard Stockton College in 1990 and a year later, received his commission as a second lieutenant.

He also has expectations of his new command.
"I expect us to operate in full compliance all the time - in every facet relating to military duty and aircraft maintenance," said Kennedy. "Attention to detail is paramount in our occupation. Each of you are empowered to fix what you see wrong; leave no stone unturned in making our operation the finest it can be."

And with those expectations and opportunities come challenges.

Those challenges include the upcoming Unit Compliance Inspection combined with a Logistics Compliance Assessment Program (LCAP) inspection - a first for Maintenance. The LCAP will target 3,000 different inspection items. In addition, the inspectors are looking at attempting to accomplish 600 personnel evaluations - one for every Maintenance member.

The number of personnel evaluations also shows the difference in organization size. At the 108th, Kennedy commanded more than 330 Airmen; at the 177th that number is almost doubled.

"We have not received an inspection of this magnitude that is specifically concentrated on maintenance tasks," said Kennedy. "It will require a tremendous amount of preparation on our part."

Despite the enormity of the upcoming inspections, Kennedy remains confident. This is based on the Group's ability to succeed regardless of what has been thrown at them.
"The individuals that work in Maintenance never cease to amaze me in mission accomplishments, professionalism and level of performance of duty and dedication," said Kennedy.

"We will capitalize on our previous successes and take the opportunity to redefine how we operate in the future."