HANCOCK AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, SYRACUSE, NEW YORK (06/03/2023) (readMedia)-- The New York AirNational Guard's 174th Attack Wing, headquartered at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, will welcome a new commander during a formal change-of-command ceremony at the Syracuse Site on Sunday, June 4.
Col. John R. O'Connor, a Rochester resident, formerly assigned to the 107th Attack Wing, will replace Cazenovia resident Col. William McCrink III as the commander of the 174th Attack Wing. McCrink will be retiring after 27 years of military service.
Members of the press are invited to cover the ceremony.
WHO: Col. John R. O'Connor, the incoming commander; Col. William McCrink III, the outgoing commander; Maj. Gen. Denise Donnell, the Commander of the New York Air National Guard and the presiding officer; and leaders of the New York Air National Guard from around the state.
WHAT: A traditional change-of-command ceremony in which the colors, or flag, of the 174th Attack Wing will be transferred from the outgoing commander to the incoming commander. This transfer of colors represents the change of responsibility and authority for the men and women of the 174th Attack Wing. O'Conner will be available to the press prior to the official change of command ceremony. The ceremony will include short remarks by the participants.
WHEN: 9 a.m. on Sunday, June 4, 2023.
WHERE: Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse. Enter via Townline Road gate. Media are asked to arrive no later than 9 a.m. for escort and setup.
Still and video images of the ceremony. There will be an opportunity to interview both McCrink and O'Connor
Members of the press must call Major Suzanne Jedrosko at 315-744-0693 for access to this secure military facility. Press must have identification.
COLONEL JOHN R. O'CONNOR
Colonel John R. O'Connor serves as the vice commander of the New York Air National Guard's 107th Attack Wing based at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station in Niagara Falls, New York. As the vice commander, he reports to the unit commander on the functions of the wing's operations, mission, support, and medical groups and overseas the operations of the 274th Air Operations Support Group at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse and the 222nd Command and Control Squadron in Rome, New York.
O'Connor was commissioned through the United States Air Force Officer Training School at LackLand Air Force Base, Texas, in 1989 after receiving a Bachelor of Science degree at the State University of New York, Plattsburgh.
He entered active duty in September of 1989 and served as a supply operations and logistics manager in the active Air Force for nine years. During that time, he served a Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina and Plattsburgh Air Force Base, as well as serving as an Air Force ROTC instructor at Rochester Institute of Technology.
While serving on active duty he deployed to Saudi Arabia in 1993 and 1994.
O'Connor transferred to the New York Air National Guard in 1989 and was assigned to the 174th Fighter Wing at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base. The wing then flew the F-16 fighter.
He served in many supply and logistics positions with the 174th Fighter Wing and then assisted in the wing's transition to the 174th Attack Wing, flying the MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft.
In October and November 2003, he deployed to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar and served as the Senior Aircraft Maintenance Officer for the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Group.
From 2019 to June 2022, O'Connor served as the Deputy Director of Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection at Air National Guard headquarters at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.
He returned to the New York Air National Guard in June 2022 and was assigned to the 107th Attack Wing.
O'Connor is a graduate of the Air War College, the Reserve Component National Security Course at the National Defense University in Washington, the Air Command and Staff College and the Air National Guard Commander Development Course.
He also holds a Master of Science in Human Resource Management from Troy University in Troy, Alabama.
His awards include the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Meritorious Unit Award, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
Col. William McCrink III
William McCrink III is a native of Philadelphia, P.A. He qualified in the F-16 at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona following his graduation from the Air Force Academy in 1996. He has since qualified to fly the MQ-9 Reaper.
While in the active Air Force he served as the chief of scheduling at the 119th Fighter Squadron at Atlantic City Air National Guard Base. He was also the Inspector General for the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base in Korea as well as flight commanders at the 20th Air Support Operations Squadron at Fort Drum, NY and the 31st Operations Support Squadron at Aviano Air Base in Italy. While at Aviano Air Base, he also served as the chief of wing plans and programs.
After joining the New York Air National Guard he served in a variety of positions to include the chief of current operations at the 174th Operations Support Squadron and the launch and recovery element detachment commander at the 174th Operations Group, all at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base.
In 2015-2017 he was the Commander of the 108th Attack Squadron at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base.
In 2017-2020 he served as the Commander of the 174th Operations Group, also at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base.
In 2020 he took command of the 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base.
McCrink is a graduate of the Air Force Fighter Electronic Combat Officers Course, Air Force Air Liaison Officer Qualification Course, Air Force Squadron Officer School, Department of Defense Joint Inspector General Course, NATO Nuclear Command Control & Reporting System User/Operators Course, Air Command and Staff College, and Air War College.
His awards include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Aerial Achievement Media with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Unit Award with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with two silver and one oak leaf clusters, Combat Readiness Medal with four oak leaf clusters, National Defense Medal with bronze star device, Iraq Campaign Medal with bronze star device, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, and Remote Combat Effects Campaign Medal.
McCrink is a command pilot with over 2100 flight hours in the F-16 and MQ-9. He is currently serving as the Commander of the 174th Attack Wing in Syracuse.
174th Attack Wing
The unit flies the MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft in combat operations supporting Operations in in the Middle East.
The Wing is also responsible for total force aircrew production at the first Air National Guard MQ-9 Flight Training Unit, as well as provides maintenance technician training for the Air Force, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, and NATO partner nations at the first Air National Guard MQ-9 Field Training Detachment.
Additionally, the wing hosts the 152d Air Operations Group, supporting operations in Europe and Africa and, mission support, and maintenance groups responsible for the deployment of personnel and equipment in support of federal and state requirements.