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Former enlisted 111th ATKW colonel selected as Pa. DAG-Air

Col. Mike Regan, currently the 111th Mission Support Group commander, addresses an audience composed of 111th Attack Wing members during an assumption of command ceremony held at Horsham Air Guard Station, Pa., Aug. 13, 2016. Regan, slated to assume the position the Deputy Adjutant General-Air, Pennsylvania National Guard, Joint Force Headquarters, Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 26, 2016, utilized humor along with pride in the Air National Guard while delivering his speech. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)

Col. Mike Regan, currently the 111th Mission Support Group commander, addresses an audience composed of 111th Attack Wing members during an assumption of command ceremony held at Horsham Air Guard Station, Pa., Aug. 13, 2016. Regan, slated to assume the position the Deputy Adjutant General-Air, Pennsylvania National Guard, Joint Force Headquarters, Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 26, 2016, utilized humor along with pride in the Air National Guard while delivering his speech. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)

HORSHAM AIR GUARD STATION, Pa. -- Col. Mike Regan, currently the 111th Mission Support Group commander here, was informed of his selection as the Deputy Adjutant General-Air, Pennsylvania National Guard, Joint Force Headquarters, Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, Aug. 12, 2016.

Regan, who commissioned after earning the enlisted rank of master sergeant, is slated to assume his new position September 26.

"I'm excited to take on this new mission and make some difference," said Regan. "There's 4,000 people in the [Pennsylvania] Air National Guard and my hope is to do good and make a difference for all of them, so the Guard gets better and stronger...I want everyone to love the [Air National Guard] as much as I do."

Regan began his 35-year military career as an active-duty weapons loading specialist for the 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Committed to his military calling, he stayed in the aircraft maintenance field until 2013 when he transitioned into his current position. During his three-year tenure as the 111th MSG commander, Regan stated that much of his focus laid in construction of new missions and the assets to support them. His collective success - rising from an enlisted weapons loader to a deputy adjutant general -- he attributes to remaining grounded and relatable.

"I'll never forget that I was an [airman basic] once. Now, I'm not; but, I'll never forget that I was."

Along with maintaining a tone of respected modesty, Regan noted two more attributes that he credits with his achievements. Both were lessons learned from his father.

"I'm no better or no worse than anyone else," he said. "My father drove that into our brains, and I believe that. I don't think I'm better than anyone else...That thinking has served me pretty well over the years."

The other quality Regan relies on is a commitment to hard work.

And while Regan said his father always wanted better for his children, he still taught them the value of travail. "...never be afraid to get your hands dirty."

Prior to his current full-time Air National Guard position, he served as the Vice-President and Chief Information Officer at Lower Bucks County Hospital in Bristol, Pennsylvania. In this position, he served as a hospital administrator in charge of orchestrating a myriad of aspects critical in efficient and effective daily operations.

"I think he brings in a lot of skills from all of his military career, but more importantly, his civilian career and what he's learned working in that capacity," said Col. Howard Eissler, 111th Attack Wing commander. "He's a communicator; he tells people what needs to be done, he doesn't beat around the bush and he holds them accountable for what they need to do.

"Most importantly, he puts things as the correct level where they need to be handled, which is going to empower people. People become empowered, they do their job better - become more motivated. And that is what helps people love the Guard."

Regan said that in all career positions he held, both military and civilian, one factor remained the most significant: People.

"I always wanted to make people feel that they were important," he said. "What they do is important. The mission is first, the organization is first; but, we're nothing without the people." And Regan's diverse experiences and commitment to people assists him in identifying with the differing backgrounds that compose today's Air National Guard. Regan holds a combined experience of being a Title 32 state military technician, a Drill Status Guardsmen, an enlisted Airman and commissioned officer. All of those elements amalgamate to prime him for the issues he may face as the Pa. DAG-Air.

"If someone told me back in 1981 that I was going to roll into being the [deputy commander] of the third largest Air National Guard in the country, I'd be like, 'Nah. That'll never happen.' And now, after I took a minute to let it sink in, I think, 'I used to be a no-striper, there's hope for everyone!'"

Regan believes the approach he's taken with his own career will be an asset to other Guardsmen and was the reason he was chosen for the DAG-Air position.

"I choose to be grateful for the job I have; I'm not entitled to anything. I earned what I've gotten, but I'm just a guy from Scranton, Pennsylvania - a normal guy like everyone else. The really cool part of the message is that anyone else can [achieve] the same thing. Don't let anyone tell you that the next thing is unattainable, because I'm proof that it is."