NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – Lancaster native, Col. Robert Kilgore took command of the New York Air National Guard’s 107th Airlift Wing in a Changing of the Guard ceremony on Saturday.
“I never really thought I’d reach this level. When you start out, you dream about something like this. I’m very humbled and honored to be here,” Kilgore said.
The ceremony at the Niagara Falls air reserve station marked the transition from Col. John Higgins, who took command in January 2013, to Col. Kilgore.
Despite seeming to always be targeted for possible closure, the airbase has new life with a mission to fly the MQ-9: an unmanned military drone aircraft.
“We’re getting ready to start construction, nearly 10 million dollars construction just to set up the operations in order for us to fly the MQ-9 aircraft. That alone is enough to say hey, you’re putting this much investment into the infrastructure. We should be moving along as far as that goes,” Kilgore said.
“I believe firmly this base will continue to play an important role in Western New York and New York State. And I will fight to do whatever I can to make sure it’s successful,” said Republican State Senator Rob Ortt.