New York Air National Guard Col. John Higgins, a master navigator with more than 3,500 hours flying in the F-4 Phantom fighter, the F-111 bomber and the C-130 Hercules, will replace Col. Jim McCready as commander of the 107th Airlift Wing at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station on Saturday, Jan. 12.
Higgins, who has been vice commander of the wing since August 2011, previously served as the Air National Guard adviser to the Air Force Special Operations Command and as Air National Guard adviser for Air Force Strategic Planning.
"He joins one of the best units in the country; led and supported by a team of talented professionals," said Maj. Gen. Patrick Murphy, the adjutant general of New York.
During his tour at National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C., from 2002 to 2009, Higgins was responsible for all Air National Guard unit mission conversions and served as deputy division chief overseeing the mobilization of more than 35,000 Air National Guard personnel in the global war on terror.
As commander of the 107th Airlift Wing, Higgins will be responsible for the deployment and employment of more than 800 assigned personnel and equipment, ensuring these assets are available to support all state and national requirements.
Higgins holds a bachelor of arts degree from Buffalo State College and a master's degree from Troy State University in Alabama.
Higgins was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1983 and served as a F-111E "Aardvark" instructor weapons system officer, chief of training, and wing plans officer, for the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing. He was based at the Royal Air Force Base Upper Heyford in Great Britain from 1987 to 1991 and served in the 914th Airlift Wing at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, from 1991 to 1997.
He also served in the 8th Special Operations Squadron and Air Force Special Operations Headquarters at Hurlburt Field, Fla., from 1997 to 2001 and was a member of the 109th Airlift Wing in Scotia, N.Y., in 2001-02.
He is a Western New York native and currently resides in Grand Island with his wife Lisa.
Pictured: Col. John Higgins