JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. –
Col. Brock “Magma” Lange took command of the Virginia Air National Guard’s 192nd Wing from Col. Christopher “Skosh” Batterton during a change of command ceremony Sept. 9, 2023, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.
Brig. Gen. Catherine M. Jumper, commander of the Virginia Air National Guard, officiated the ceremony. Maj. Gen. James W. Ring, the Adjutant General of Virginia, numerous distinguished visitors, Airmen of the VaANG, and friends and families of the colonels attended.
“From agile combat employment exercises, training multi-capable Airmen, innovation initiatives recognized all the way at the HAF [Headquarters Air Force] level, these Airmen are ready,” said Jumper. “They are ready for a leader who will challenge their Warrior Ethos, a leader who will prepare them to operate in a challenging austere and potentially deadly environment, a leader who lives the Air Force Core Values, a leader who understands without a doubt the challenges our nation and the commonwealth face in the years ahead. Magma, you are that leader.”
Lange commissioned in 2002 after graduating from the University of Colorado as a distinguished graduate of the Air Force ROTC program. He has held a variety of flying assignments at the squadron and group level, including chief of standardization and evaluation for the 1st Fighter Wing.
In 2013, Lange transitioned to the VaANG serving in the 149th Fighter Squadron. He commanded at the squadron and group level. He held various positions at the National Guard Bureau including his most recent position as the Chief’s Action Group director for the office of the Chief of the NGB, Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson.
“To the 192nd Wing, this is the part I need you to listen to and I need you to listen closely: thank you for serving your nation and our community,” said Lange. “Thank you for being Citizen Airmen. It is a big task. As I was preparing for this day, we went past the World War II Memorial and etched on that memorial is a quote from Gen. [George C.] Marshall.”
The quote on the WWII Memorial Lange referenced reads: “We are determined that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on the one hand and of overwhelming force on the other.”
“I thought about that quote a lot over the last few weeks and it captures why I serve,” said Lange. “This flag represents freedom, but our job is to provide the collateral. We provide the overwhelming force. I’m confident that we will be ready if our number is called, but I need to make sure that each one of you shares that confidence. When you look in the mirror you know you’re ready and your family’s ready because we’re going to take the fight wherever we need to take it…Work hard, stay focused, and have fun. Let’s get to it.”
Batterton served as the wing commander from Dec. 10, 2020, through Sept. 9, 2023, and was presented with the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service to the United States.
“Skosh, the word ‘thanks’ doesn't seem to be enough to capture the impact you had on the 192nd Wing at this critical turning point in our history,” said Jumper. “At a time when the wing needed continuity of leadership and commitment to the priorities set by leaders who came before us, you answered the call. You truly epitomize what it means to be a servant leader - you are Airman-centric, you are humble, you have created a culture in the wing that encourages Airmen to succeed at all levels of the organization, and then you celebrate them when they do. You laid a strong foundation of excellence by encouraging and rewarding innovation, Airman development, and mission command.”
Batterton addressed the wing one final time as the commander before relinquishing command and took time to thank many who impacted his career and time in command.
“Magma, you’re going to love this job. To me, it never really feels like a job,” said Batterton. “It’s just awesome serving our Airmen - our Airmen are the best. I’m excited for you as you lead them to the next level of excellence. Airmen of the VaANG, thanks very much. It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve with you; keep up the great work. I am the VaANG.”