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107th Airlift Wing welcomes new commander

New York State Division of Military & Naval Affairs

  Just months after gaining a new mission flying the MQ-9 “Reaper,” the 107th Airlift Wing is welcoming a new commander. 

At a ceremony on Saturday afternoon at the Niagara Falls Air Base, Colonel Robert G. Kilgore took over for Colonel John Higgins. Kilgore, a 26 year veteran of the Air Force, served in both the Iraq and Gulf wars. The Lancaster resident says he’s been a likely candidate for the new position.

  “I’ve also been serving as the vice-commander here at the unit the past two years. So it’s a fairly normal transition to step up.  Having both the long-term experience of being a pilot in the guard and then the experience flying the MQ-9 made me – I think – a pretty logical choice to take over.”

The 107th Airlift Wing ended its six year mission flying the C-130 Hercules cargo plane last September, when it began the transition to flying remotely piloted aircraft. Kilgore says the wing is able to fly missions around the globe.


  “It’s primary mission being intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. An incredibly adept platform for that. We’re able to fly it worldwide and we can do it from home station, if you will. That makes it unique. It’s still what we call a sunrise mission for the Air Force. It’s only just beginning to take off. I think it’s nice for us and the 107th to be a part of that as we move forward.”

Kilgore has has been a member of the unit since 1997. He says the command is a positive cap on his career.


  “This is without a doubt the culmination of a career. I never expected to be reaching this plateau, if you will. It’s extremely humbling, but I’m honored. It’s nice to have the faith of the generals when they selected me for this position. The 107th is a great wing and I couldn’t be more proud to take over the leadership here, especially as we move forward on the new mission.”

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Avery began his broadcasting career as a disc jockey for WRUB, the University at Buffalo’s student-run radio station.