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111th Attack Wing bids farewell to former commander

A woman wearing an Air Force camouflage uniform presents a plaque to a man wearing an Air Force Dress Blues.

U.S. Air National Guard Col. William R. Griffin, former commander of the 111th Attack Wing, headquartered in Horsham, Pennsylvania, accepts a plaque from U.S. Air National Guard Col. Christine Munch, commander of the 111th Mission Support Group here, during his retirement ceremony at Biddle Air National Guard Base June 12, 2021. Griffin officially retired on April 1, 2021, when he reached his mandatory retirement date, and was recognized today for his 31 years of honorable service to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States.(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Wilfredo Acosta Jr.)

BIDDLE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Pa. --

Col. William R. Griffin officially retired on April 1, 2021, when he reached his mandatory retirement date, and was recognized today for his 31 years of honorable service to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States.

The Commander of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, Brig. Gen. Michael Regan presided over the ceremony and delivered the keynote address.

“So, today is about recognizing and thanking Col. Griffin for his 31 years of dedicated service, and to say thanks to his family and friends for their undying support,” Regan said.

In running through some facts about his career, Regan said Griffin flew 4072 hours as a command pilot with 700 hours as an instructor and 223 hours as an evaluator. 

In addition to flying 300 combat hours and 105 combat sorties in the OA-10A Thunderbolt II, Griffin flew 313 hours and 138 combat sorties in the MQ-9 Reaper, Regan said.

“On his watch, this unit earned two back-to-back meritorious unit awards from the period 2018 and 2019,” said Regan. 

This success doesn’t just happen. It happens when Airmen feel empowered, and they feel that they can be innovative and creative.  Success is not accidental, it happens through great leadership, Regan said.

“I would pit the line-up I have here at the 111th against any staff across the U.S. Air Force,” Griffin said in farewell remarks recently to the command and staff.  “You are simply the best, and you made coming to work every day just a complete joy for me, even in tough times.”

Griffin graduated from Western Maryland College in 1987 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1990 through the Air National Guard’s Academy of Military Science.

Upon completing Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma, in 1991, he was assigned to the 103rd Tactical Air Support Squadron, Willow Grove Naval Air Station, Pennsylvania, where he served as pilot.

Griffin supported multiple global operations during his career, including  deployments to Al Jaber Airbase, Kuwait in 1995 and 2001, where he flew more than 20 Operation Southern Watch close air support missions; and a 2002 deployment to Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan, where he flew eight Operation Enduring Freedom CAS missions.

In 2003, he deployed to Al Jaber Airbase, Kuwait and Tallil Airbase, Iraq, where he flew more than twenty-five combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2007, he commanded the 103rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Al Asad Airbase, Iraq, where he flew 18 combat missions. In 2008, he commanded the 103rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron deployed to Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan, where he flew 23 combat missions.

Griffin’s career culminated with his assignment as 111th Attack Wing Commander.  Under his leadership, the command received the Meritorious Unit Award two years in a row, and maintained the highest retention rate in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard.  The unit is also at 102 percent strength, which is emblematic of the positive command climate at the Wing.

“From domestic ops to combat ops and everything in between, we do things that most wings and organizations can’t even attempt,” Griffin said. “I couldn’t be more proud of you, and I couldn’t have been more proud to be your Wing commander. Thanks!”

 “My final request is that you continue being you,” Griffin said in a final walk through with the Wing in March.  “The awards you’ve won, and the fact that you have maintained the highest levels in recruiting and retention demonstrate that this is a quality unit and, for the most part, people love to come to work here.  That’s what the facts show.”