Gov. Jack Dalrymple today congratulates Col. Kent Olson on becoming the new commander of the Fargo-Based 119th Air National Guard Wing. Dalrymple also extends his appreciation to out-going Commander Col. Rick Gibney for his dedicated service to the nation and North Dakota.
"The 119th Wing has a long-standing record of excellence," Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. "Col. Olson is a proven leader and under his command, the 119th will continue its remarkable tradition of outstanding operational readiness and professionalism. I congratulate Col. Olson on his appointment to wing commander and we are indebted to Col. Rick Gibney for his dedication to the nation and North Dakota."
Olson, a fighter pilot and the119th Wing's vice commander since 2008, assumed the wing's top post following a change-of-command ceremony at the Happy Hooligan's military base in Fargo.
Dalrymple said the unit's strong record of excellence is an important factor in efforts by the governor and the state's congressional delegation to existing and future missions of the North Dakota Air National Guard.
Olson served several deployments to Central America as part of an anti-narcotics operation. Olson also served in Operation Noble Eagle, leading F-16 missions and combat air patrols over Washington D.C. and across the nation following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2011. He enlisted in the North Dakota Air National Guard in 1981.
Gibney began his military career in the active-duty Army and Army National Guard. He was commissioned an officer in 1982 and advanced to be named 119th Wing commander three years ago. He will deploy for service in Southwest Asia.