ATLANTIC CITY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.J. --
It was a weekend of change at the 177th Fighter Wing, as Col. John R. DiDonna passed responsibility to Col. Bradford R. Everman as the new 177th Fighter Wing Commander here, November 19.
Current and former members of the Wing, in addition to family and friends, gathered in the main hangar to take part in a change of command ceremony which included distinguished visitors such as Commander of the New Jersey Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Keehn, Rep. Frank LoBiondo, and more.
The event symbolized the passing of the torch from Col. John R. DiDonna, 177th Fighter Wing Commander since March 2015, to the new commander of the 177th Fighter Wing, Col. Bradford R. Everman.
Prior to becoming wing commander, Everman had been serving as the 177th Operations Group Commander. That responsibility was passed on to Col. Derek B. Routt the day prior. Routt had previously served as 1st Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff.
The ceremony marks the end of DiDonna’s more-than 15 year career with the Wing.
DiDonna, who joined the 177th in March of 2003, had previously served as 119th Fighter Squadron Commander, 177th Fighter Wing Operations Group Commander, and 177th Fighter Wing Vice Commander before taking over as 177th Wing Commander.
DiDonna spent much of his farewell speech thanking the members of the 177th for their exceptional service to both the state and federal mission, and listed a myriad of Wing accomplishments which included: CONAR security forces member of the year, 2016 ACC legal office of the year, 2016 Air National Guard Athlete of the Year, 2016 Air National Guard Recruiter of the Year, and multiple successful deployments.
“What you’ve done in the past 32 months is amazing,” DiDonna said. “It is truly reflective of how awesome you all are, how professional you all are, and how ready you all are.”
The sentiments of the Wing’s success articulated by DiDonna were echoed by Everman in his first time addressing the Wing as commander.
“I would put this Wing against any wing anywhere in the U.S. Air Force,” Everman said. “Col. DiDonna and Col. Kennedy have led us to a phenomenal place.”
DiDonna also expressed great confidence in Everman’s ability to lead the 177th in the future.
“Under Col. Everman's command, I cannot wait to witness our Wing’s continued path towards true excellence,” DiDonna said. “I know the Wing’s future will be immensely successful.”
In addition to previously leading the 177th Operations Group as commander, Everman has also spent time as the Deputy Commander of the 177th Maintenance Group, and has more than 3,010 flight hours logged, including 469 combat hours in support of Operations Southern Watch, Northern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.