Col. Robert Donaldson, of Greenfield Center , takes command of 109th Airlift Wing on Saturday, March 2

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Colonel Robert Donaldson

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, SCOTIA, NEW YORK (02/29/2024) (readMedia)-- New York Air National Col. Robert Donaldson, a Greenfield Center resident, will take command of the 109th Airlift Wing during a ceremony at Stratton Air National Guard Base on Saturday, March 2.

Donaldson will replace Col. Christian Sander, a Lake George resident, who has led the wing since 2020.

Members of the press are invited to attend the ceremony.

WHO: Major General Denise Donnell, the commander of the New York Air National Guard and the presiding officer for the ceremony; Col. Robert Donaldson, the incoming commander; Col. Christian Sander, the outgoing commander, and the men and women of the 109th Airlift Wing.

WHAT: A traditional change of command ceremony, during which the guidon of the wing will be transferred from Sander to Donnell and then to Donaldson. The ceremony symbolizes the transition from one commander to another.

WHEN: Reporters must be at the Stratton Air National Guard gate no later than 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, 2024.

WHERE: Stratton Air National Guard Base, 1 Air National Guard Rd., Scotia, NY, 12302

Members of the media must contact Master Sgt. Jamie Spaulding at 518-860-8526 by noon on Friday, March 1 for access to this secure military facility.

Media Opportunity:

Reporters will be able to collect still imagery and video of the ceremony. The incoming and outgoing commanders will be available for interviews.


Col. Robert Donaldson

Col. Robert Donaldson, Greenfield Center resident, is an LC-130H Navigator with nearly 2,000 flying hours supporting operations in Antarctica and Greenland and mobilizing in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the Middle East.

Donaldson was the Deputy Wing Commander of the 109th Airlift Wing at Stratton Air National Guard Base before taking on his new role where he will continue providing leadership and management of more than 1,160 wing personnel.

In the past, he has served at the National Guard Bureau and was the Director of Staff at New York's Joint Force Headquarters in Latham, New York.

Donaldson was commissioned in 1999 from the Academy of Military Science after serving eight years as an enlisted aircrew member with the US Air Force and the New York Air National Guard.

His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air & Space Organizational Excellence Award, National Defense Service Medal with bronze Service Star, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

Col. Christian Sander

Col. Christian Sander has served as the commander of the 109th Airlift Wing since 2020. Sander joined the 109th Airlift Wing in 1990 and was commissioned following classes at the Academy of Military Science at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base.

He became a pilot in 1992and has flown both the C-130 Hercules and the LC-130 ski-equipped variant of the aircraft operated by the 109th Airlift Wing.

He is a command pilot with over 4,350 flying hours and has served as an instructor/ evaluator pilot as well.

He served in a number of positions within the 109th Airlift Wing to include Operation Group Commander, chief of wing plans, chief of current operations, and deputy commander of the 109th Maintenance Group.

His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Aerial Achievement Medal, the Combat Readiness Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Antarctic Service Medal, and the Humanitarian Service Medal.

The 109th Airlift Wing

The primary mission of the 109th Airlift Wing is to provide airlift within Antarctica, flying to various remote locations from McMurdo Station. Crews transport scientists, support, fuel, supplies, medical supplies, and research equipment across the continent. The wing also flies missions to support science research in Greenland.

The wing operates 10 LC-130 Hercules transports configured with skies to land on ice and snow. These are the largest aircraft in the world with that capability.

The unique capabilities of the ski-equipped LC-130 aircraft make it the only one of its kind in the U.S. military, able to land on snow and ice.