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New wing commander telling 186th's story

By Staff
Sept. 28, 2003
Col. Erik Hearon, the new commander of the Mississippi Air Guard's 186th Air Refueling Wing, has joined the local vanguard of people concerned about the 2005 round of military base closures. In this round of what is commonly referred to as BRAC base realignment and closure National Guard bases are also potentially at risk, along with active duty installations.
As he introduces himself to the community by making the rounds of civic clubs and churches, Hearon speaks of the 186th's $43 million military and civilian payroll, its major contributions to the cause of national defense through air refueling missions and its support of operations at Key Field. Many people don't know that members of the 186th handle air traffic control and fire protection work at Meridian's commercial airport. The loss of the unit would be a real blow to airport operations.
Hearon, a former CPA turned full-time National Guardsman, has extensive military experience in the field, particularly through service in the Middle East. He is also a bone marrow donor and is about to launch a program to encourage other donors locally.
The new wing commander is exhibiting a positive, community-oriented spirit that can only be helpful as he and others continue to eye the BRAC calendar.