JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. - The 192nd Wing welcomed a new commander during a change of command ceremony Jan. 10, 2021, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. Brig. Gen. Toni M. Lord, Air Component Commander, Virginia National Guard, presided over the ceremony where Brig. Gen. Mark D. Piper relinquished command to Col. Christopher G. Batterton.
“Col. Chris Batterton, congratulations on your selection as the 192nd Wing commander,” Lord said as she addressed the new leader during the ceremony. “Your passion for Airman care, business processes and leadership will propel the wing’s growth and future success.”
Batterton is an F-22 Raptor command pilot with more than 2,000 flying hours in fighter aircraft. In April 2009, Batterton joined the Virginia Air National Guard’s 149th Fighter Squadron as a drill-status Guardsman. He served as commander of the 192nd Operations Support Squadron, 192nd Intelligence Squadron, and 192nd Operations Group before taking command of the 192nd Wing.
“Thank you Gen. [Timothy] Williams and Gen. Lord for your confidence and this incredible opportunity to lead this unstoppable group of Airmen,” Batterton said. “I’m excited to serve and look forward to working with you in the coming months as we continue to build and improve on a ready and relevant force in the Virginia Air National Guard.”
Piper served as the 192nd Wing commander since Aug. 11, 2019. During his tenure, the wing has seen multiple short notice mobilizations and assisted the Commonwealth during a COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest in summer 2020.
Batterton addressed the outgoing commander during the ceremony.
“Thank you Gen. Piper for your leadership and dedication to our wing in an incredibly, nonstandard year and a half filled with lots of uncertainty,” he said. “You kept us focused on our Airmen, maximizing resources, empowering our commanders and leading into the future.”
As the new wing commander, Batterton presided over the assumption of responsibility ceremony that same day for the new wing command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Richard A. Roberts. Roberts is also a long time VaANG member, who recently returned from a tour at the Air National Guard Readiness Center and has previously served as the 192nd Mission Support Group superintendent.
“I look forward to getting to know each Airman in the wing and hearing how I can serve you,” Roberts said. “I want you to know that you are my business. Together, we will faithfully put in the work to remain resilient and ready for federal and state missions. I’m proud to serve alongside you.”
The wing command chief is the principal advisor to the wing commander on matters of health, welfare and morale, professional development, and the effective utilization of more than 1,200 enlisted Airmen.
Even though Batterton and Roberts have more than 30 combined years of service in the VaANG, they will certainly notice the many new faces of Airmen who have joined in recent years. In addition, the wing has expanded in missions and manpower.
The wing hosted four more back-to-back change of command ceremonies to round out the busy day of events. The 192nd Operations Support Squadron welcomed new commander, Lt. Col. Andrew Weidner. Lt. Col. Timothy Strouse assumed command of the 192nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. Lt. Col. Jonathan Esparza became the new commander for the 185th Cyber Operations Squadron. And, Col. Brock Lange took over the 192nd Operations Group.
“Airmen of the 192nd Wing, I want you to know I am awestruck by your level of commitment to excellence in all you do; it’s an honor to serve as your commander,” Batterton said. “Each of you has a unique and critical impact on our nation and the Commonwealth of Virginia...I look forward to a great journey.”