Air National Guard ushers in commander, shows off $4 million facility expansion
Centre Daily Times
STATE COLLEGE — The 112th Air Operation Squadron appointed a new commander Saturday on the same day the station opened a new addition to their facility.
Col. Douglas A. Williams replaced Col. Keith Locklear who retired on Friday and plans to partake in the “three Fs” at his home in Clark Lake, Mich.: farming, fishing and flying.
“These last few days have been melancholy to say the least,” Locklear said. “I’ll just have to get used to not doing something I’ve done for so long.”
Locklear’s family was in attendance at the ceremony in addition to the 112th unit personnel and local political leaders.
“He’s really put his heart and soul into this,” Locklear’s wife, Sandy said. “I’m still so impressed when I sit here and listen to all he’s accomplished.”
Locklear joined the Air Force in 1982 after he initially enlisted in the Navy. He served as commander of the 112th squadron since 2004 where he lead a 142-person unit whose mission is to train personnel to augment Air and Space Operations Centers worldwide.
But now, Williams said he has big shoes to fill.
“He’s a tough act to follow, but we’ll continue with everything we’ve worked so hard to strive for,” Williams said.
Williams said he will lead in new mission sets for the Air Force Special Operations Command, Alaska North American Aerospace Defense and Air Force Central — a combatant command responsible for U.S. security interests in the Middle East.
According to the United State Air Force, Williams is a “traditional guardsman” serving as the Chief of Strategy and Plans for the squadron, where he will be responsible for the development and assessment of air employment strategies and plans.
Williams, a Penn State and Shippensburg University graduate, formerly served as an Electronic Warfare Officer with the 193rd Special Operations Wing for 24 years. There, he accumulated more than 4,100 total flying hours, including more than 550 flying hours in combat during operations Desert Storm, Uphold Democracy, Desert Thunder, Deliberate Force, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom, Iraq Freedom, Unified Response and Unified Protector.
And his first order of business is to get his team on the same page with future operations, he said.
“We’ll get a team together and plan how to support our commitments,” Williams said. “We need to continue to make our people capable and do trainings.”
Some of those trainings, he said, will take place in the new $4 million, 8,500 square foot facility expansion.
According to the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, the AOS building expansion will provide space for growing Air and Space Operations Center mission sets that the other building fell short of.
The Air Operations Center provides “operational level command and control to ensure the effective conduct of air and space operations during Air Force joint and coalition efforts.”
The Air National Guard said the funding for the building expansion was allocated through the National Guard Bureau and through Congress under the military budget system.