McCready, a combat veteran and East Aurora resident, is currently serving as the wing's vice commander, responsible for equipping and training the wing's 900 airmen. He will replace Col. Patrick Ginavan, who will retire after 34 years of service in the Air Force and Air National Guard as both an enlisted airman and an officer.
"I am really excited because there are some challenging times we are getting ready to go through," McCready said.
The 107th transitioned from flying KC-135 tanker aircraft to flying C-130 cargo planes in 2008 and will deploy to the Middle East for combat operations in its new role in the summer of 2011, McCready explained.
"Col. Jim McCready has shown impressive leadership as the 107th's vice commander and as operations group commander for an Air Expeditionary Wing in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom," Murphy said. "He is moving into a very challenging position, but I am confident he will do well."
"I would also like to think Col. Patrick Ginavan for his leadership, dedication and service during a busy time for the 107th Airlift Wing. He handled the difficult task of transitioning the wing from the refueling mission, flying KC-135 tankers, to an airlift wing sharing aircraft with the Air Force Reserve incredibly well," Murphy added.
"Over the past 15 years, Col. McCready has demonstrated great leadership qualities, " said Maj. Gen. James Kwaitkowski. "Such leadership will be critical in cementing the bond with the 914th Airlift Wing to create the premier associate unit in the United States Air Force. Col. McCready will provide the steady hand needed to guide the 107th AW through the challenges of the future."
"I also want to extend my thanks to Col. Ginavan for a job well done," he added
McCready, a 30-year Air Force veteran, is a Western New York native. He went to high school in the same town he now lives in with his wife, Heidi. The two have three grown children; daughter Emery; son James III, a senior at Canisius College; and son Spencer, a junior at Virginia Wesleyan College.
McCready, a navigator with more than 3,000 hours of flying time under his belt, has served with the 107th in a variety of positions since 1993.
McCready was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Program in 1980 after attending Grove City College in Grove City, Pa.
He attended undergraduate navigator training at Mather Air Force Base, Calif., receiving his wings in May 1981.
His first assignment was as a member of a KC-135 tanker crew with the 91st Air Refueling Squadron and then later the 384th ARS, both at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas. In 1986, McCready was assigned to the 909th Air Refueling Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan.
As a member of the lead instructor crew, he established the 376th Strategic Wing's initial low-level air refueling and radio silent mission profile tactics during Cope Thunder, at Clark Air Base, Philippines.
As the chief, Current Operations Branch, 3rd Air Division, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, McCready was responsible for all refueling assets in the Pacific theater. Additionally, he was the lead tanker planner for exercises throughout the Pacific, including Team Spirit, Pitch Black, Cobra Gold, and Cope Thunder.
During operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, McCready tasked and was responsible for more than 1,000 sorties, providing logistical support to Diego Garcia. Prior to becoming the vice commander, McCready was the 107 Air Wing Operations Group commander, the 107AW vice commander, 136th Air Refueling squadron commander, 107ARW Operations Support flight commander, and chief of scheduling/current operations. He has deployed as the operations officer for operations Enduring Freedom, Decisive Endeavor (three times) and Northern Watch (two times).
Most recently, McCready deployed as the operations group commander for the 487th Air Expeditionary Wing during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
His priority now will be to make the 107th Air Wing's association with the Air Force Reserve's 914th Airlift Wing a model of success.
"The Challenge is to make Team Niagara the best," he said.
Ginavan, who began his service as an aircraft mechanic in 1976, has served as the commander of the 107th since 2005. He and his wife, Jill, live in Gasport. His sons, Sam and Charlie, are members of the 107th as is his daughter-in-law, Stasha.
A pilot with more than 3,300 hours of flying time, Ginavan was first assigned to the 107th as an instructor pilot in 1986 when the wing flew F-4 fighters. He then transitioned to F-16s and then the KC-135R tanker as the wing's aircraft changed. He was commissioned in 1983 after seven years of enlisted service.
Ginavan said he's pleased that McCready has been chosen to replace him and he knows he will do an excellent job.
"I wish the best of luck to the 107th," he said. "I am very proud to have served this unit since 1986 and been a part of it and all the things we have been through."
A change of commander ceremony, in which the 107th Airlift Wing colors will be ceremonially transferred from Ginavan to McCready, signifying the change in command, will be scheduled in January 2011.