Horsham Air Guard commander selected to lead 193rd SOW -- 111th ATKW bids farewell

  • Published
  • By Jon Dahms
  • 111th Attack Wing

The commander of the 111th Operations Group here, who was recently selected to command the 193 Special Operations Wing based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; enjoyed a final farewell from his fellow wingmen at the 111th Attack Wing during a fini-flight celebration September 28, 2022.

Pennsylvania Air National Guard Col. Edward J. Fink, Jr., the 111th OG commander and commander-select for the 193rd SOW, was surprised by friends and co-workers Biddle ANG Base when he exited a building at the end of the day and was met with the spray of a fire hose provided by the local Horsham Township Fire Department.

“Ed will certainly be missed at the 111th Attack Wing as he leaves to assume command of the 193d Special Operations Wing,” said Col. Deane Thomey, commander of the 111th ATKW. “He started his career here as an Airman in our maintenance organization and later served as an A-10 pilot, Maintenance Group Commander and now as our Operations Group Commander. Those experiences coupled with his time on the National Guard Bureau staff, and as the Operations Group Commander at the 193d Special Operations Wing have made him a remarkable leader in our wing and an invaluable adviser to me.”

The fini-flight celebration is a tradition in which a departing pilot is sprayed with water by his family and friends following a final flight with the wing, group or squadron.

As commander, Fink was responsible for the training and preparedness of the 111th Operation Group, to include cyberspace operations, MQ-9 combat and training operations, and associated support functions, which provides home station support to Air Combat Command and Combatant Commanders. He is a current qualified MQ-9 pilot.

Fink enlisted in the Air Force in August 1985 and served as an enlisted Nuclear Weapons Specialist in the 410th Munitions Maintenance Squadron. He separated from active service in 1988, joined the Pennsylvania Air National Guard.

While attending Penn State University to earn his degree, Fink served as an Aircraft Munitions Maintenance Team Chief at the 111th Fighter Wing, Willow Grove Naval Air Station, Horsham, Pennsylvania. In 1992, he was selected for a pilot position, commissioned in November 1993 and earned his pilot wings at Laughlin Air Force Base, Del Rio, Texas in January 1995.

After attending training at Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson, Arizona, he returned to Willow Grove NAS as an A-10 pilot where he eventually upgraded to Evaluator Pilot and served in numerous contingency deployments. Fink commanded the 111th Maintenance Group before transferring to the 193d Special Operation Wing, Middletown, Pennsylvania, as an EC-130J Aircraft Commander.

In December 2012, he assumed command of the 193d SOW, Detachment 1, Bollen Air-to-Ground Range at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania. Fink assumed command of the 193d Special Operations Group in April 2016. Prior to his current position, Fink served as the Deputy Director for Air Operations for the National Guard Bureau, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

"Col. Fink taught me how to employ command responsibility and authority, and he left an indelible positive mark on my career as a Squadron Commander and Air Force Officer,” said Lt. Col. Pete Bigley, commander of the 103rd Attack Squadron, a subordinate unit of the 111th OG. “There is nothing better as a squadron commander than to know that your Group Commander has your back. It was an honor to serve and fight with him and I am so excited for the 193rd and the Fink family."

As a command pilot, Fink has more than 3900 hours of military flight time in the T-37, T-38, A/OA-10, C-130J, EC-130J and MQ-9, and he is a veteran of Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom with 506 hours of combat flight time. In his civilian capacity, he is a First Officer with American Airlines.