Ohio National Guard News

Hesterman takes over command of 178th Wing

By 178th Wing Public Affairs

Senior Airman Rachel Simones, ONG

Col. Gregg Hesterman (right), the incoming commander of the178th Wing, receives the unit guidon from Maj. Gen. Stephen Markovich, commander of the Ohio Air National Guard, during a change of command ceremony Nov. 4, 2017, at t Springfield Air National Guard Base in Springfield, Ohio. Hesterman succeeds Col. John Knabel, who relinquished command and retired after 29 years of military service.

Col. Gregg Hesterman, the new commander of the 178th Wing, speaks during the change of command ceremony.

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (11/04/17) — Col. Gregg Hesterman assumed his new position as the commander of the 178th Wing during a ceremony Nov. 4 at Springfield Air National Guard Base in Springfield, Ohio.

Col. John Knabel, the outgoing 178th Wing commander, handed over the guidon to Hesterman.

“Commanding the 178th Wing has been the most rewarding assignment in my 29-year career,” Knabel said.
Hesterman’s military career began in 1991 when he commissioned through Iowa State’s Naval ROTC program as a U.S. Navy officer. Soon after, his career lead him to Pensacola, Florida, where he began pilot training.

“I was winged in 1994. My first assignment was at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma,” Hesterman said. “I flew big communications airplanes for four years. I found out about the Air National Guard in 2000, and I jumped ship in 2001 and came to Ohio.”

Hesterman joined the 121st Air Refueling Wing, located at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base in Columbus, Ohio, and served as a KC-135 Stratotanker pilot. In addition to serving as a pilot, Hesterman held multiple leadership positions at the 121st before arriving at the 178th Wing in April 2017. He served as the vice commander at both the 121st and 178th before assuming his new role as commander.

Hesterman discussed how two of his priorities for the wing are the mission and the people.

“We can’t do the mission without the people,” Hesterman said. “Relationships are what make the mission work. We need to do what we can to support one another and encourage positive relationships.”

Airman 1st Class Cana Biser, a command support staff specialist, said Hesterman’s priority for people shines through in his leadership style.

“I’ve worked with Col. Hesterman for a while now, and I am excited to see what he can bring to this wing,” Biser said. “He is truly genuine. When people come to him with issues, he listens to the full story before he gives a solution.

“He is someone I can go to when I am struggling. He is a leader that listens to the Airmen around him, and he continuously works toward fixing any issues that people have,” she said.

Hesterman said his other main priority is providing quality service to customers.

“All of us have a customer,” he said. “We need to be cognizant of the fact that we’re here to serve them.”
Hesterman said one of his goals for the wing is to improve connections between different subordinate units on base.

“I think one of the biggest things I want to do is to break down barriers to get people to understand how they fit together as a team and as a wing,” Hesterman said. “Because of our mission, we operate very independently from one another, and I want to change that so people understand one another’s mission better.”

Hesterman said his career has been shaped by his diverse job positions and some encouraging leaders.

“I’ve been very fortunate to work with some really awesome people,” Hesterman said. “They mentored me without even realizing they were doing so.”

Hesterman emphasized the importance of taking care of younger Airmen, and advised them to embrace change.

“Never stop asking questions,” Hesterman said. “Whenever you start to get comfortable, you need to start looking for change. We don’t grow when we’re comfortable.”

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