Watson Takes Command of the 172nd AW

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Kiara N. Spann
  • 172nd Airlift Wing

The 172nd Airlift Wing welcomed Col. Britt A Watson as the unit's 24th commander during a change of command ceremony at Thompson Field, Jackson, Mississippi, Feb. 6, 2022.

"It's not often that someone gets to take command of a wing, especially one as respected and accomplished as the 172nd, so I'm honored and humbled to be taking this position", said Watson. "To quote someone much greater than me: I did not 'come here to be served, but to serve.'"

Watson received his commission in the Marine Corps from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1996. He joined the Air National Guard in 2009, where he has served in various positions, including command at the squadron and group level. Watson, a command pilot with more than 4,000 hours in the F/A-18C/D, T-45C, MC-12W, C-27J, RC-26B and KC-135R aircraft, has deployed in four different aircraft to various overseas locations, including flying missions in Operation Enduring Freedom. Before assuming his current position, Watson served as the vice commander of the 186th Air Refueling Wing, Key Field Air National Guard Base, Meridian, Mississippi.

"You deserve a gifted leader in your next commander, and that's exactly what you're getting with Col. Watson," said Col. Tommy F. Tillman, who served as the 172d commander since June 2018. "He and his family have invested heavily in this venture, and I'm confident that he will be very successful leading this great wing."

Maj. Gen. Janson D. Boyles, the adjutant general of Mississippi, was the event's host, and Maj. Gen. Billy M. Nabors, assistant adjutant general-Air, Mississippi National Guard, was the presiding officer.

"One of the most important things that a commander does is select other commanders," said Nabors. "That selection determines the success or the failure of everything that comes after, and this is a decision that is not taken lightly." Nabors said he was proud to recommend Col. Britt Watson to Maj. Gen. Boyles as the 24th commander of the 172nd Airlift Wing. "This Wing deserves nothing but the best leadership, and I found that leader in Col. Watson."

"Col. Watson, you bring a wealth of knowledge to this position," said Boyles. I know you and your family will be a team force here."

The 172nd Airlift Wing continues its mission to improve combat capability in defense of the nation and in support of the state of Mississippi. The unit is assigned a fleet of C-17 Globemaster III aircraft that provide global strategic and tactical airlift in support of National Command Authority objectives and the objectives of the Governor of Mississippi. The Wing is comprised of more than fifteen local and geographically-separated units capable of supporting airlift and aeromedical evacuation operations, tactical airlift control, combat civil engineering, air control, and combat readiness and training.